The crisis over the start date of the Amarnath Yatra deepened with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad showing no signs of relenting and a top VHP leader on Tuesday stating that Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti will lead a contingent of devotees to the cave shrine on June 3.
"Recently, Shankaracharya Vasudevanandji Maharaj had visited Jammu and specifically instructed that the yatra should start from Jyesht Purnima and run for at least 60 days. But the (Shri Amarnath Shrine) Board did not adhere to his instructions," said VHP national secretary Surinder Mohan Jain.
The board has left sadhus all across India angry by disobeying him, he added.
Jain said sadhus from all over India and Uma Bharti will reach Jammu on June 2 and then leave for the Amarnath shrine next day, so that they can reach the shrine on Jyesht Purnima and perform pooja there.
The yatra will start from six places in Jammu, he said, adding that heads of various akharaas will lead the different groups.
"The group of devotees from Jammu will be headed by Sadhvi Uma Bharti. Apart from her, Mahamandaleshwar Ramswaroop Dasji and Rameshwar Dasji will also accompany the group. From Kathua, Swami Gautam Dasji will head the devotees, while Paramanandji Maharaj will lead pilgrims from Samba," Jain said.
The board had earlier set June 25 as the date for the commencement of the yatra. Jain, however, alleged that there was a "deliberate attempt" to reduce the duration of the yatra.
"The date for the yatra was decided in October last year. They did not take anybody into confidence before setting the date and later on forced the committee members to agree on the date," Jain said, adding that there was a deliberate conspiracy to hurt the sentiments of the devotees.
"It is very unfortunate. Earlier, the government was not willing to extend the yatra and now when they are ready, the board is not ready to enhance the duration of the yatra. There were no issues with the yatra till 2009," Jain said.