Srinagar, December 25: After imposing the controversial tax on the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, the state government has now decided to levy pilgrimage tax or “Jaziya” over another hindu pilgrimage, the Amarnath Yatra.
As per the reports in a local daily, the tax remained a secret before, pertaining to the fact that this annual pilgrimage held in the summers in Kashmir and it was over in September when decision was taken to levy ‘Jaziya’ over the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage
The officials sources from the state finance department have said that the pilgrims flying to the Amarnath cave shrine in helicopter will also have to pay the same service tax as has been made applicable for the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
Since there was a massive outrage over the imposition of tax on Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, the officials of finance department were “warned not to open their mouth” that the tax would applicable even on the Amarnath Yatra as well. However, it was disclosed by a senior BJP Minister who spilled the beans when unable to reply when a reporter asked me as to why BJP failed to revoke “Jaziya” on Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage.
“The tax is not applicable for chopper service to Vaishno Devi alone. It is imposed for all religious shrines of the state,” the senior BJP leader said. However, he denied to name other ‘all religious shrines’ mention in his statement but it was confirmed that he referred to Amarnath cave shrine for the fact that helicopter service is offered for only in these two pilgrimages in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.