Idrees Ali

Traditional Muslim-Pandit amity on display in Mela Kheerbhawani

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Tulmulla, Jun 20: Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits today thronged Tulmulla village in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district to celebrate annual Kheerbhwani Mela.

As usual, traditional harmony between Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims here was once again on display during the Mela. Besides making arrangements for the annual fair, the local Kashmiri Muslims were seen welcoming the Pandits.

Local Muslims made special arrangements for the devotees by providing drinking water and juices.They had also setup various stalls for devotees that displayed flowers and other Puja material.

RK Motwani, a Pandit currently residing in Jaipur said, “I am overwhelmed by love and the affection of local Muslims here. Mela Kheerbhawani is a great example of communal harmony in Kashmir. Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters are doing everything for our convenience.”

Carrying rose petals amid ringing bells of Ragnya Davi Temple, devotees walk barefoot in the temple premises and offer milk and ‘Kheer’ (pudding) to the sacred spring located within the temple .

Devotees believe the color of the spring water hints about the situation in Kashmir for the coming months.

“I am over seventy years old. I have been witness to love and harmony between Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims for decades. Politicians are hell-bent to divide us and have been successful in doing so to a large extent. I believe bad time will be over soon and we will live together as we used to in the past,” said a Pandit Shiban Krishan Warikoo.

“The issue of Kashmiri Pandits has become a political tool for some politicians and they know how to take advantage of the same for their own benefits,” he added.

Kheerbhawani Mela is considered as the biggest congregation of Pandits in the Valley. Every year in the month of June a large number of Kashmiri Pandits travel from various parts of the country to the Ragnya Davi Temple in Tulamulla Ganderbal to celebrate Kheerbhawni festival.

Migrant KPs appeal Muslims to lead way for their return to valley

Tulmulla, Jun 20 (PTI) Scores of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, who have assembled here for the annual Kheerbhawani fair, said today that successive governments at the Centre as well as in the state had failed to rehabilitate them in the Valley and only used their cause for political gains.

A group of Kashmiri Pandits appealed to Muslim brethren to lead the way for their return to the Valley.

“For the last 28 years, the governments in the state as well as at the centre have only assured us of our return and rehabilitation, but have done nothing. They have failed to do so,” Satish Mahaldar, a Kashmiri Pandit, said here.

Mahaldar said the community had only been “used as a political slogan”.

“We have nothing to do with politics. But, till today, Kashmiri Pandits have been used only as a political slogan. Someone pulls us in one direction and the other in different direction for their benefits,” he said.

He said while Kashmiri Pandits were destroyed after leaving the Valley, the Muslim population also suffered.

“If Kashmiri Pandits have been destroyed, Kashmiri Muslims have seen worse. Our Kashmiriyat has been destroyed and there have been attacks on it regularly,” he said.

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