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Govt revokes order seeking details of Pandits visiting Kheer Bhawani temple

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Officer who had passed said order attached

Srinagar, May 14: Government on Monday revoked its controversial notice which had sought details of Kashmiri Pandits visiting Kheer Bhawani temple for an annual fair, and also ordered an inquiry into the matter.

“We have ordered an inquiry into how this notice was issued without the knowledge of any officer in the department including the minister,” Minister for Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Disaster Management, Javaid Mustafa Mir, told reporters here.

The minister added that the officer — Deputy Commissioner Relief (Migrants) Kuldeep Krishen Sidha — who issued the notice had been relieved from the department.

“We have asked the general administration department to attach the said officer and also ordered a probe in this regard,” he said and added that  “the inquiry committee will be headed by Commissioner Secretary Relief and Rehabilitation and Disaster Management.”

Mir also claimed he had no information about the notice till it was highlighted by the media. “While I take full responsibility as the concerned minister, an officer had issued this notice on his own. He did not inform me or any other officer in the department and there is no need for such a notice,” Mir said.

Kashmiri Pandits are sons of the soil and they do not need any permission to visit the shrines here, he added.

“We cannot have them questioned or scrutinized. They can come anytime and need not register. They are our part and we cannot question them on their entry or exit. This is totally unacceptable and I regret it,” the minister said.

Admitting that the notice has sent a “bad signal”, the minister added that a probe would establish how it happened.

“I think it is a mistake on the part of the officer and I do not think there was any delibrate attempt,” Mir said.

Asked about the security arrangements for the Mela Kheer Bhawani, Mir said utmost security measures in every respect will be taken.

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