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Will agitate if Amarnath yatra is extended, threatens Geelani

By Mukhtar Ahmad
June 18, 2010 22:09 IST

The hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Friday threatened agitation 'in case the annual Amarnath yatra is not restricted to the original 15 day schedule.'

Addressing a Friday congregation before staging a sit-in along with his supporters in the heart of summer capital Srinagar, Geelani said, "We are not against the yatra. But, the extended duration of the yatra and its impact on our environment and ecology forces me to issue this call."

Citing the examples of Uttarakhand, Geelani said that 'the government of Jammu and Kashmir should emulate the example of that state and restrict the yatra to its original period of only 15 days to minimise ecological and environmental damages to the area.'

The annual yatra begins on July 1 this year and already thousands have registered themselves for this year's pilgrimage.

Geelani also demanded the immediate release of all the youth arrested by the police on charges of stone pelting by the coming Monday, failing which he threatened mass agitation.

He also advised the parents of the arrested youth not to pay bribes to anyone for their release. "In the ongoing freedom struggle, it is our duty to fight for the release of all the arrested youth," he said.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar