Centre Offers Extra Security For Kousar Nag Yatra

2 August 2014
The Hindu
Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Devesh K. Pandey

New Delhi: Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to review its decision to not allow Kashmiri Pandits to undertake the annual pilgrimage to Kasuar Nag and ensure that the issue does not lead to any social or sectarian strife in the State. It is understood that the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the State Government to ensure continuation of the Yatra, offering extra security if required. Representatives of aggrieved Kashmiri Pandit organisations earlier met Dr. Singh seeking the Central government's intervention. They have accused the State government of withdrawing permission. However, the Jammu and Kashmir government said no approval for the proposed pilgrimage was granted in the first place. Advocating least government interference in matters of faith, Dr. Singh - who represents the Udhampur constituency in Jammu and Kashmir - said the government should take initiatives to facilitate such pilgrimages. He expressed concern over allegations that the pilgrimage had been cancelled under pressure.The Union Minister said he would submit the memorandum received from various Kashmiri Pandit organisations to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with a request for appropriate action on the issue. Congress leader Manish Tewari said if the security situation permits then the Yatra should be allowed to continue as it is an old practice. '