June 2016 News

Govt. Disallows Yatra To Central Kashmir Despite BJP Pressure

11 June 2016
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday disallowed a Yatra to Budgam district in central Kashmir, proposed by a New Delhi organisation, despite pressure from the BJP, an ally of the ruling PDP. 'We have taken precautionary measures to avoid any law and order problem,' Budgam Deputy Commissioner Mir Altaf Ahmad said. All entry points of Beerwah, 20 km from Srinagar, have been sealed. Policemen have been deployed on several stretches. The Acharya Abhinav Gupt Samaroh Samiti planned to take out a Yatra to the cave - believed to have hosted scholar and seer Acharya Abhinavagupta - in Beerwah from June 11, a day after the Pandits would have converged in Ganderbal district for the Kheer Bhawani festival. 'The Yatra has nothing to do with any religion; it is aimed at highlighting the relevance of Abhinavagupta as an expert in various subjects,' said Ajay Bharti, convener of the Yatra. BJP spokesman Khalid Jehangir said: 'A few people with vested interests are bent upon opposing any move to promote communal harmony in Kashmir. People need to dwell on history, because there had been an annual pilgrimage before 1947.' However, government spokesman Nayeem Akhtar told The Hindu: 'Traditional pilgrimage and fairs will be allowed. However, there is no proposal to carry out a Yatra. No such proposal will be entertained.' Separatists oppose move Separatists have opposed the Yatra. 'It's a deliberate attempt to disturb the peace. Communal forces, backed by the RSS and the government, are indulging in cultural aggression. The baseless story around Beerwah has been ruled out even by the State Revenue department,' Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani said. In August 2014, another Yatra to Kaunsar Nag in south Kashmir became a flash point, forcing authorities to clampdown to control the situation.