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Suresh Kak | HENB | Jammu | May 22, 2016:: Most of the Kashmiri Pandit organisations today criticised the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department for naming the famous Hari Parbat hill as ‘Koh-e-Maran’ in their advertisement on Kashmir Fort festival as published in various daily news papers on May 21.
With the consent of Smt. Priya Setthi, J&K Minister of State for Education, Technical Education, Culture, Tourism, Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks, the advt. was finalized to publish. Priay is a nominated MLA from Jammu by the Governor of the State by exercising powers under Section 47 Sub Section (1) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Priya is the Women Cell President of Jammu and the wife of Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mr Yudhvir Sethi and BJP.
“At a time when BJP government at the Center is discussing about their sincerity on resettling the exiled Kashmiri Pandits, its own government in Jammu and Kashmir is working to undermine its efforts by such acts (the naming of Hari Prabat as Koh-e-Maran),” Roots in Kashmir (RIK) spokesperson Anoop Bhat said.
He condemned the recent advertisement of J-K Tourism in newspapers in which it referred to ancient Hari Parbat as Koh-e-Maran which triggered the controversy. Displaced Kashmiri Pandits organisations, including Panun Kashmir, All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC), had yesterday condemned the incident and demanded a probe into it.
“The hill of Hari Parbat has not only cultural and historical significance, it also is the abode of Goddess Sharika, the presiding deity of Kashmiri Pandits. Even there have been attempts to rename Shankaracharya Temple with an Arabic name,” Anoop alleged.
Rakesh Gurkha, a displaced Hindu activist from J&K told HENB that Hari Parvat is treated as the umbilical cord to Hindu culture with Kashmir. But, the pro-Hindu BJP is trying to undermine the significance of it very unfortunately.
The Kashmiri Pandit Sabha (KPS) also condemed the incident. “This further increases the mistrust that has developed between the two communities and which needs to be addressed for creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere in the Valley so that people from all communities can live together,” KPS President K K Khosa said.
While trying to contact with the Tourism Minister (+91-9419145948) several times, her mobile was found unreachable or diverted to another number.
All State Kashmiri Pandit (ASKPC) President Ravinder Raina while condemning the incident said “Government should order probe into the matter.”
“It is a deliberate design to change the names of Hindu places in Kashmir”, he said.
“We condemn tourism department of J&K Government for the naming Hari Prabat Hill as Koh-e-Maran”, All Jammu and Kashmir Displaced Youth Forum (AJKDYF) Chairman Pandit Sanjay Koul said.
He said it is an attempt to erase Hindu history from Kashmir valley that too when BJP and PDP is in government.
All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) Chairman Vinod Pandita said,“We will hold more protests to highlight the renaming of Hindu places by Islamic names under a conspiracy.”