Kashmiri Pandits Stage Protest For Right To Pilgrimage In PoK9 October 2011
The Economic Times
New Delhi: A group of Kashmiri Pandits today staged a protest here demanding that the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government facilitate pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth in Pak-occupied-Kashmir. The Delhi unit of the All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) demonstrated in Jantar Mantar here pledging their support of the indefinite hunger strike launched by the outfit chairman Vinod Pandit in Jammu on October seven. 'Sharda Peeth is an iconic seat of learning, scholarship and accreditation, which plays a key role in defining the identities of Kashmiri Pandits,' Ravinder Pandita, Delhi unit in-charge of APMCC, said. 'We are not making an extraordinary demand. Just like people from different religious sects are allowed to go for pilgrimage to their place of worship, similarly we demand that Mata Sharda temple in PoK be opened for KPs to pay homage,' another APMCC member Mohan Kishen Mongha said. Pilgrimage to Shardha Peeth temple in Muzafarabad in PoK is closed since 1947. The APMCC is demanding that India and Pakistan should hold talks over the issue and facilitate pilgrimage to the shrine. A six-point charter of demands has been designed by APMCC which include establishment of Sharda Peeth University in Jammu and Kashmir, passing of the pending Temples and Shrines Bill for in the state Assembly, as well as coming up with special employment package for non-migrant Hindus in Kashmir Valley. Prominent Dogra and Kashmiri organisations have submitted memorandums to the offices of President of India, Prime Minister and Chief Minister.