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Srinagar, Jul 11 (UNI) Though the diversion of land issue was still fresh in the minds of the people across the country because of violent protests in several states, another controversy surrounded the annual holy pilgrimage of Amarnath.

This time round the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued a notice to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) over installation of a marble edifice of Shivlingam near the holy cave shrine at Amarnath.

A single bench, comprising justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir has directed the CEO B B Vyas to submit his reply within one week on a petition filed by a local resident describing the installation of marble edifice of shivlingam as playing with the sentiments of the lakhs of devotees who visited the shrine from all parts of the country.

Demanding removal of the marble edifice near the shrine, the petitioner said it had hurt the sentiments of the devotees.

The SASB land issue rocked the entire country which ultimately resulted in the fall of the Congress led coalition government in the Jammu and Kashmir when a partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) withdrew from the ministry and its support on the issue, forcing Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to resign.

Governor N N Vohra dissolved the assembly and imposed governors rule in the state since mid-night last.

Since the set up of the SASB, the pilgrimage was surrounded by a number of controversies.

It was alleged that SASB made an artificial ice-lingam after the original self made shivlingam melted in 2006. Last year some television channels show devotees touching the shivlingam and tempering with it even before the start of the official pilgrimage.

A number of devotees also filed cases against the SASB for hurting the sentiments of the devotees in the state courts.

However, this time, the authorities had taken all measures and not a single devotee was allowed to proceed towards the shrine before June 18, when the official two-month-long pilgrimage started.


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