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Trekking decision on Kanchenjunga, other peaks of Sikkim withdrawn

By A correspondent

GANGTOK, Sept 1 - The Union government has withdrawn its decision to allow climbers and trekkers to scale Mount Kanchenjunga and 13 other peaks regarded as sacred in Sikkim.

A high-level meeting was convened by Union Home Secretary AK Bhalla on August 30 at New Delhi. During the meeting with representatives from the Sikkim government, many decisions were taken unanimously, which included one that said the 14 sacred peaks (which are also regarded as deities) of Sikkim will not be opened for mountaineering and trekking.

However, 10 other peaks have been allowed for mountaineering and trekking at the request of the Indian Mountaineering Federation. The decision has been welcomed by tribal groups and the civil society, which had threatened a stir in the Himalayan state. Kanchenjunga is considered as a �guardian deity�, and many peaks, lakes and hot springs are regarded as �sacred� in the state.

In 2001, the Sikkim government had issued a notification declaring all natural places of worship in the state as �sacred�.

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