JAMMU, Dec 05:Lashing out at the State Govt. for its refusal to withdraw the pilgrims tax on the Vaishno Devi Pilgrims, JKPCC has termed it as an insult to the religious sentiments of the people.Reacting to the statement of the Finance Minister whereby he has justified the imposition of service tax on the pilgrims of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, the JKPCC Spokesman has said that it reflects a total insensitive approach of the present dispensation towards the religious sentiments of the people and a slap on the face of BJP which had announced that the same shall be withdrawn.
The utter failure of the BJP over the issue, exposes its double standards as well as its total surrender and helplessness for the sake of power. It is ironical that the party which always cried hoarse over the issues of religious sentiments, has led to imposition of pilgrims tax, when came to power for first time in the State. On the contrary, the previous Govt. in which Congress was coalition partner, amended the Panchayat Raj Act and deleted Sub Cl. (iv) of Cl. (1) of Section 15 of the Act, which had empowered the Panchayats to impose pilgrims tax. This was done to respect the religious sentiments of the public.
Questioning the logic of the Govt. behind imposition of tax on the helicopter that only rich use the service, JKPCC Spokesman said that, it is not the question as to who can pay for it but these steps amount to hurting the religious sentiments of the people causing great resentment over the indifferent treatment, since this Country has tradition of offering subsidies and extending other facilities for the pilgrimages. Moreover the facility is not availed by rich only but also by the aged, ailing, physically challenged and others who cannot trek the difficult journey but have desire to seek blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi ji and other such shrines.