Shakeel Ahmed charges BJP with politicising Amarnath issue

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Patna, Aug 25 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmad today lambasted the BJP for 'politicising' the Amarnath issue and said the UPA government would not allow it to take any electoral advantage on the issue.

Speaking to newsmen here, Mr Ahmad said the Muslim community in Jammu and Kashmir always extended their ''full co-operation'' to the Amarnath pilgrims and it was a glorious example of secularism and communal harmony.

'' The former Ghulam Nabi Azad government took a number of steps to improve the facilities to the Amarnath pilgrims and constructed a separate 'Yatri Niwas' with an investment of Rs six crores in a record time of three months in June this year,'' Mr Ahmed said and charged the BJP with making 'baseless allegations' that the erstwhile Congress government was not serious to improve the amenities of the pilgrims.

'' Despite withdrawing the 39.88 acres of forest land, earlier allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board, the Azad government had announced several measures to make the Yatra comfortable and hassle free,'' Mr Ahmad said.

Moreover, the previous government had promised to provide required land to the state tourism department along with various services to ensure maximum facilities, safety and security for the pilgrims during the entire Amarnath Yatra period, he added.

'' The Azad government had also directed the state tourism department to make adequate provisions in its annual budget for maintaining the existing facilities for pilgrims as well as upgrading them in view of their increasing number every year,'' Mr Ahmad informed.

But, he said,the BJP was deliberately not paying heed to such realities and raking up the issue of withdrawal of land allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board, in a bid to disturb the communal harmony in the state for a political gain, Mr Ahmad alleged and made it clear that the Congress led UPA government would not allow such a sinister design to succeed.

'' The Centre was taking all steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir,'' he said and appealed to all political parties to fully cooperate in this endeavour.

UNI KKS-ABA KK/src1835

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