Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh being briefed by the members of Save Sharda Committee Kashmir, at New Delhi.
STATE TIMES NEWS
NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has been approached by Save Sharda Committee Kashmir, a registered organisation, for facilitating the resumption of annual Sharda Peeth Yatra to Sharda in district Muzaffarabad in Pak occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). The Yatra has remained suspended since 1948.
A delegation led by Ravinder Pandita, a Kashmiri Hindu activist, held a detailed meeting in this regard with the minister and discussed with him the various aspects and the sanctity of the Yatra.
In a written representation, they stated that the Yatra used to be undertaken annually in the month of August i.e. Badaun on Ashtami of Shukla Paksh and would take the route via Kupwara in Kashmir to the Peeth in PoJK. The Yatra was largely organised by the Dogra rulers in the pre-independence era, but has remained suspended after 1948.
Dr Jitendra informed the members of the delegation that he is aware of the issue and has also held a series of meetings in this regard. The permission for the resumption of Yatra or even to undertake a symbolic Yatra, to begin with, requires to be obtained after clearance from Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence, and only after that, the Ministry of External Affairs is approached for further formalities.
He said, a detailed document in this regard was already placed before the union Home Ministry last year and it is in circulation for obtaining the requisite clearances from different quarters.
Dr Jitendra said, the Union Home Ministry has been actively cooperating on the issue but the process of obtaining clearances also requires the cognisance of the Ministry of Defence and inputs from the various security agencies, because it involves crossing over to the other side of the border. He said, he would again take up the issue with the Ministry of Defence and try to address the reservations expressed.
Meanwhile, Dr Singh appreciated the initiative of Ravinder Pandita and his team in having formed contact with the members of the civil society in PoJK. He said, he had been informed that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of PoJK, Shah Ghulam Qadri had also endorsed the demand of conducting an annual Yatra to Sharda Peeth by Hindu pilgrims from Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of India. He said, he would try to explore the possibilities and find out views regarding the security and other concerns on this issue.
Besides Ravinder Pandita, prominent among others who attended the meeting with Dr Jitendra Singh included Desraj Kaul, Pradeep Pandita, Kusum Pandita, Ramesh Tikoo, B.L. Zutshi, Veena Pandita, Pradeep Pandita, Ratna, Digvijay Chaturvedi, Rahul Trivedi and others.
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