Kashmiri Pandits to Gather at Ganderbal, Hurriyat (G) Not Happy
NEW DELHI: At a time when the rehabilitation of migrant Kashmiri Pandits is being hotly debated in the Valley, a Pandit body's plan to organise a mass gathering in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district has raised eyebrows in the separatist camp.
"It is certainly a matter of concern. At a time when the government is playing politics over the issue of Kashmiri Pandits' rehabilitation, such acts will only create further divisions in our society," Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat said.
He said the Hurriyat will react to the issue in detail soon, "Our leadership is presently under police custody. I am also under detention But we will react to the issue once we are set free," he said. Moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, could not be reached for comments.
AK Koul, Convenor of Maha Kumbh Celebration Committee which is organising Dashar Maha Kumbh in Waskoora tehsil of Ganderbal district on June 14, said the festival will be held after a gap of 75 years.
"A small island sits on the confluence of Jhelum, Krishen Ganga and Sindh in Waskoora. There is a Shiva Lingam on the island by the shade of a majestic Chinar tree, which is considered sacred by Kashmiri Pandits. It is believed that even if the rivers is flooding, the tree stays put," Koul said.
Prominent historian and Dean Academic Affairs, University of Kashmir, Prof Mohammad Ashraf Wani, said the confluence of Jhelum and Sindh has a significant place in the cultural history of Kashmiri Pandits.
"This place was seen as an alternate to River Ganga by Kashmiri Pandits who couldn't move out of the valley due to social and economic barriers. A dip in the river was considered as significant as a dip in Ganges," he told The Citizen.
Koul said the committee members have met the deputy chief minister, seeking elaborate arrangements for pilgrims, including temporary bathrooms, medical facilities, transportation, makeshift toilets and temporary shelters.
"The deputy CM promised us all the support of the state government," Koul said, claiming that the ashes of independent India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, were immersed at the spot and at Bijbehara in south Kashmir's Anantnag as per his will.