Jammu : Amarnath Yatra has started and more than 24,000 pilgrims have had the darshans at the Holy cave shrine since the first day of the pilgrimage in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday.
Every year lakhs of people from different parts of the country take part in the pilgrimage. They visit the state, halt in Jammu, register themselves and obtain their Yatra token before proceeding further.
For all the yatris, Charitable Trusts provide free tented accommodation and Community Kitchen (langars) for the pilgrims. Free accommodation is also being provided by Non-Government Charitable Organisations. However, J&K Tourism Development Corporation too provides tented accommodation and shelters at nominal charges.
The rality is grim. This is the pretty picture that the visitors are promised but not provided. The arrangements made by the government lack on many fronts. Lack of enough accommodation is the primary issue. The helpless yatris are bound to sleep on the dirty roads due to lack of room for them in the Government arranged rooms. These people get no help from the authorities, and this is not the first time that something like this has happened, every year the yatris are seen spending nights on the roads.
While talking with the yatris, stranded outside the token counter at Sangam Resort in the Rail Head Complex, most of them spoke about the difficulties they were having in getting the token for the registration for a couple of days. They narrated how the officials denied them tokens and talked about quota again and again. The registration was then closed for the entire day as a result, people seeking enrollment from the previous day too were left wrecked.
Thereafter, the next that the registration process shall begin, yatris from two previous days and the one arriving that day, would over crowd the counters leading to hours and hours of waiting queues.
The situation here is tense and the people are full of rage since they are literally on roads for the sake of these tokens with their children, wives and old parents.
Near the rail head complex itself, there are more than 2 thousand people outside the token centre sleeping on the roads. Moreover, there is just one police constable to control and protect the crowd. Due to the lethargic system in Jammu, the people cannot proceed for the yatra as and when they please. The lack of make-shift arrangements for Yatris to sleep, makes the wait even more miserable. Lack of shelter over their heads, on a rainy day, for instance, could pose a massive menace.
Even after bringing up the matter in the notice of the concerned authorities, no help has come forward. Instead, the officers said that the forces shall be deployed after the prescribed timing, i.e. 5 a.m.
In situation like these, incidents of theft and other activities that end up disrupting peace take place. Some yatris end up fighting with each other and there is no one to control them. The government is literally doing nothing.