February 2017 News

No Shutdown On Shivratri Festival In Kashmir; Separatists Call Off Strike

20 February 2017
India Today
Shuja-ul-Haq

Srinagar: What comes as a sign of relief to the Pandit community living in Kashmir, separatists have called off the Friday shutdown this time which coincided with the festival of Shivratri. A spokesperson of separatist camp said that this decision was taken to facilitate hassle-free Shivratri festival for the Hindu community. Among the Kashmiri Pandit community Shivratri is seen as the crown of festivals. It is locally known as 'Herath'. Special prayers are organised for the event. Walnuts, whose shape represents the universe, play an important part in Herath rituals. Walnuts are filled in earthen pots and then filled with water. Traditionally wet walnuts are distributed. The valley has been witnessing weekly protest calendars being issued by separatist camps after the Burhan Wani unrest. In most of these calendars people are asked to observe shutdown on Fridays. In the calendar this time February 24 was marked as the shutdown, however now it would be observed as a normal day. This happened after many locals flagged the issue of Shivratri festival coinciding with the Bandh call.

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