Levy on Amarnath Yatra: A faith is being targeted
by digvijay singh 18 May 2010
The fault lines in the field of religion- motivated ‘Raajniti’ being played out in the state of J&K have never been clearer. If Amarnath agitation was an eye-opener for those indifferent to the regional aspirations of the people of Jammu (the proud dogras ),the present decision of the government to impose a ‘vengeful taxation’ (a gimmick) on the holy Yatra is nothing but rubbing of salt on to the wounds of minority community in the state.
The levy of Rs 15 from each yatri for the registration was not digestible to the authorities so they imposed a charge of Rs 2,300 per day (earlier Rs 300) on the buses and trucks in addition to the toll tax, that the burden of which will be passed onto the yatris only. What is even more appalling that free meal ‘langar’ set ups will have to shell Rs 25,000. The repressive mughal policy of imposing ‘Jazia’ on non-muslims has found new proponents in the independent India. The trend is alarming because it is state sponsored radicalization of the whole democratic apparatus. Using tax as a weapon to settle personal political scores cannot be allowed in this case as on the larger canvass the religious sentiments of Hindu community is involved.
The vindictiveness of the current administration in the above reprehensible measures by government is all too evident against those who fought heart and soul with their blood taking days to fade off the Jammu streets during the agitation. During that emotive period of the agitation which saw many local heroes emerge no one could deny the fact many egos of those in administration at the were hurt badly while they stood helpless and sorry at the chaos that ensued in front of their eyes. Now it is their chance to get back and please their electorate through such populist and discriminatory actions which are not only illogical but reek of ingrained hatred and aim only at slighting the religious sentiments of the minority population.
As if the sacrifice by the Jammu hero of Amaranth agitation Mr. Kuldeep Raj(deceased) was not enough to shake up the collective conscience of Jammuites and people of the faith in the country, it would be a rude shock if parties which championed the minority’s cause in the summer of 2008 with sheer bravery that was only to be seen to believe, would take this insult lying down. An appeal is made from this forum to all the Indians irrespective of their political or religious allegiances to speak up against this discrimination brought against ‘a faith’ that has always welcomed diverse beliefs onto its soil with open arms.