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Poonam Atri | HE Media Bureau | Jammu | 20 August 2014:: The Traditional Kousar Nag Yatra row in Kashmir’s Pirpanjal Range again revived as tag-war issue between Central Govt of India and Jammu & Kashmir Govt. in Indian Republic.
Less than three weeks after J&K Govt. withdrawn permission to undertake the historical Kousar Nag Yatra, a group of Kashmiri Pandits on Tuesday reapplied for permission to undertake the pilgrimage with foolproof security to a group of 20 persons from Kulgam to Kousar Nag from September 15 to 17 through south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
Now, the Central Government has also directed Omar Abdullah Government to grant security and immediate permission to the group of the 20 Kashmiri Pandits desirous of undertaking Kousar Nag yatra, as reports came in.
An international body of the Kashmiri Samaj is also trying to reach Kousar Nag to find the facts whether any temporary Mosque has been built up by the lake side to destroy its nature and Hindu connection.
The All Party Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) has again sought permission to undertake yatra. The yatra has been contentious issue in the past after some separatists evoked frivolous grounds to protests against forcing authorities to cancel it.
However, even though the yatra was stopped, but after it, pictures were circulated in the social media, where some people sitting in front of the lake, had hoisted a flag with the religious sermons.
It has been thus made into a religious confrontation. The situation is likely to aggravate further after India called Foreign Secretary level talks with the India expressing its displeasure for meeting the separatists.
The separatists are fumed over this act of the Modi Government, which has shown them (separatists) their real face. They are again likely to evoke religious sentiments in the Valley to oppose the yatra and this rebuff by the Central Government is likely to be used by them to spread propaganda of hatred.
Even though the Omar Abdullah had himself supported the Yatra and had blamed separatists for spreading lies on concern over pollution, this time he will be watched for his handling of the situation especially on how he ensures the safe and smooth passage to the yatris.
Even though only handful of KPs will perform yatra, but the sentiments in the Valley are likely to be raised against it. The separatists and also some elements within the political parties are likely to create disturbance and intelligence agencies have already communicated to the Government on this regard.
The Modi Government also by its rebuff to the separatists had signaled that only a handful of people can’t be allowed to have their writ run in the state which is also represented by the Hindus of the Jammu, people of the Ladakh region and also the Kashmiri Pandits.
In the meanwhile, a US based Kashmiri-Americans Forum has decided to send a fact-finding mission to Kausar Nag in Jammu & Kashmir following reports in Pakistani media about a temporary mosque being constructed at this high-altitude oligotrophic lake located in the Pir Panjal Range.
In a statement, the Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) said the fact-finding mission to the lake would be sent in association with All India Kashmir Samaj.
“The KOA and All India Kashmiri Samaj have also constituted a task force of eminent religious scholars and others who will visit the Valley to conduct a fact finding mission on the state of religious freedom of the Kashmiri Pandits, state of temples and shrines,” the statement said.
The students of the law department of Jammu University with signatures of more than 200 students in their petition to the Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have alleged that the state government has curtailed religious freedom of Hindus by denying permission to the Kausar Nag Yatra. It is being submitted that that the State Government of Jammu & Kashmir, under the threats and pressure mounted by the separatists/anti- socials in Kashmir, denied permission to Hindus to perform their traditional religiously significant Kousar Nag Yatra from Kashmir.
In the petition it was also submitted that relevance and historical existence of the Kausar Nag for Hindus can be gauged from the fact the Kousar Nag pilgrim is even mentioned in revered ‘Nil Mat Puran’ which is a 6th century text of Hindus. In fact, Kousar Nag is actually called Kram saras, and it formed by melting of a glacier. As a practice, Hindus hold natural water springs in high reverence, and worship them as gift from God.
Denying permission to perform religious Kousar Nag Yatra in Kashmiri valley, the J&K Govt caused a serious breach of fundamental right of ‘Right to Freedom of Religion’ of Hindus in the state (actually) under Islamist’s control.
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