HC talks tough, seeks clear stand on paid ‘Atka Aarti’

Vishal Sharma

Jammu, May 26: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shine Board (SMVDSB) to clear its stand over the ‘Paid Atka Aarti’ scheme within a stipulated time period.

High court has sent a notice to shrine board to file objections against allegations leveled against it of commercializing the worship of Vaishno Devi shrine by charging for sitting in ‘Atka Arti’. The said notice was today sent by the division bench of high court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad margay and Justice B S Walia in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Sumit Nayyar which pertains to the issue for commercializing the worship of shirne for sitting in Aarti Darshan.

The court has stated that “The Petitioner respectfully submitted that there is absolutely discrimination on the part of respontieipts passing these impugned orders of commercializing worship at the Shri Mata Vaishno Shrine by fixing the prices for attending the Arti for the devotees who desires to become part of to Aartis being performed the Holy cave of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine” and asked shrine board to file objections against this.

Relevant to mention here that in the year 2008 vide its order number 569/SB dated 11-3-2008, the shrine board had started paid ‘Atka Aarti’ system for the pilgrims in which packs were also formulated ranging from Rs 16,000 to Rs 75,000 with room and food facility.

While vide it’s another order number SMVDSB /CEO/ST/152-159 dated 31-5-2008 Rs 1000 was fixed as single person charge for sitting in ‘Atka Aarti’ besides a ‘Quicker Darshan” system was also started by shrine board by fixing Rs 500 and Rs 200 as charge per person from gate number 2 and 5 respectively.

Over the above mention orders massive outrage was shown by the several Hindu and non political organizations and demand for their revocation was also raised but to no avail.

Adv. Sumit Nayyar in a special interview with JK Newspoint said that shrine board has no right to divide humans on any basis and this act of the shrine board is dividing people on financial basis besides is the sheer violation of their fundamental rights.



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