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Allow Sharda Peeth pilgrimage too, Mehbooba urges India and Pakistan

Sharda Peeth, which has ruins of a temple to Hindu goddess Saraswati (also known as Sharda), is located close to Kishen Ganga river in the Neelam Valley in PoK, around 150 km from Muzaffarabad. The site is very significant for Kashmiri Pandits, who have long been demanding they be allowed to visit it.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2018 18:54 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Kartarpur,Sharda Peeth,Mehbooba Mufti
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti today demanded that India and Pakistan open up pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for Kashmiri Pandits (File Photo)(HT)

After India and Pakistan laid the foundations for the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims, former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday urged the two countries to facilitate pilgrimage to the Sharda Peeth in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir also.

Sharda Peeth, which has ruins of a temple to Hindu goddess Saraswati (also known as Sharda), is located close to Kishen Ganga river in the Neelam Valley in PoK, around 150 km from Muzaffarabad. The site is very significant for Kashmiri Pandits, who have long been demanding they be allowed to visit it.

‘’Kartarpur is a great example of how religion can bring people together instead of dividing them. It is a path envisioned by PDP founder Mufti Sb to end the turmoil in Kashmir. #SelfRule. After Kartarpur, Delhi and Pakistan must facilitate Sharda Peeth pilgrimage for Kashmiris,’’ Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet.

Her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also been seeking opening of Sharda Peeth for several years now. During the PDP-Congress coalition government (2002-2008) when the Srinagar–Muzuffarabad bus service was started in 2005, it had called for more meeting points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmiri Pandits had also been demanding that they should be allowed to travel to PoK on a simple permit like that for the cross- LoC bus passengers. The community had been seeking same facilities as passengers on the weekly Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, which is still considered one of the biggest confidence-building measures in Kashmir.

A delegation of the Kashmiri Pandits had met Mehbooba Mufti last year when she was chief minister of the state to seek start of the pilgrimage either through Kaman or Kargil in Kashmir division.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 18:54 IST