Judicial probe into artficial Shivalingam at Amarnath
Srinagar, June 29: In order to set at rest the controversy over the allegations of raising of the ''artificial'' ice Shivalingam at the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha today ordered a judicial probe into the matter and directed for submission of the report within a month.
Gen Sinha, in his capacity as the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Chairman, in consultation with Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, has ordered the probe into the allegations about the artificial ice-lingam of Lord Shiva at the holy cave shrine by a retired Jammu and Kashmir High Court Judge.
A shrine board spokesman said here that Justice (retd) K K Gupta has been asked to submit his report within a month.
The spokesman said the judge will look into the complaints about the alleged tampering of the Shivalingam (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva) and ''unjustified charges'' regarding ponnywalas, tentwalas and labourers.
He said the probe order followed recommendations of the preliminary inquiry report submitted by SASB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Arun Kumar who was asked by the Governor to look into the allegations and complaints on June seven.
Earlier on June 18, Mahant Deependra Giri, the custodian of holy mace of Lord Shiva, had held the SASB responsible for raising of the ''artificial'' Shivalingam at the Amarnath cave shrine and termed it as an act of sacrilege.
He also demanded for appointment of a judicial commission, headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge, to probe the matter so that the guilty were punished.
''Since its inception, the SASB is responsible for the management of affairs of the Amarnath shrine. So, if anything has been done at the holy cave, the SASB is responsible for it,'' the Mahant said.
Expressing serious concern over the ''artificial and chemically-made ice Shivalingam'', the Mahant said the entire Hindu community was in a state of shock over the media reports suggesting that this year the Shivalingam had been raised manually.
''The religious feelings and sentiments of thousands and thousands of pilgrims have been badly hurt. If found that this year's Shivalingam had been raised manually or scientifically, then I will term it as an act of sacrilege,'' he added.
''I am of this firm opinion that the holy cave is a natural cave and the formation of the himlingam is a natural process. It (Shivalingam) should not be interfered with manual, artificial or scientific artifice or procedures,'' the Mahant of Amarnath Charri-Mubarak said.