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Indian State and Religion: what secularism?

Wednesday 20 July 2016, by siawi3


SP’s Hindutva Card: Pilgrimage to Gujarat’s religious spots

Pankaj Shah

Jul 14, 2016, 10.04 PM IST

LUCKNOW: The ruling Samajwadi Party is all set to play a Hindutva card from Prime Minister Narendra Modi parliamentary constituency of Varanasi. It has decided to hire a special train to ferry pilgrims from Varanasi to three religious shrines located in Gujarat, the home state of Modi, free of cost.

UP’s religious affairs department, in a communique sent to Gujarat chief secretary, said that the state government intends to ferry pilgrims to Hindu shrines of Dwarika, Somnath and Nageshwar in Gujarat through a charter train hired from the Indian Railways for the purpose.

Principal secretary, religious affairs department, SN Shukla said that the pilgrimage, scheduled to start from July 29 to August 4, will only be meant to senior citizens who have domicile of UP. People interested in pilgrimage will have to send their applications to DMs of respective districts by July 18. The state government plans to send 1044 pilgrims in the sleeper class of a charter train.

According to the communique, pilgrims will be brought to Varanasi in buses from various districts, free of cost. The pilgrimage will, however, be available to those who have not availed a similar facility under Samajwadi Srawan Yatra. As per the arrangement, the district administration will send a list of 10 pilgrims from each district.