BJP vice- prez Khanna wants pilgrimage of Kashmiri Pandits to Sharda Peeth in PoK
During his recent visit, Khanna met a deputation of ‘Save Sharda Committee Kashmir’ that requested for allowing Hindu pilgrims of Jammu and Kashmir to visit Sharda Peeth in the PoK.Updated: Jul 05, 2017 12:15 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president and Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj seeking pilgrimage of Kashmiri Pandits to Sharda Peeth in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
During his recent visit, Khanna met a deputation of ‘Save Sharda Committee Kashmir’ that requested for allowing Hindu pilgrims of Jammu and Kashmir to visit Sharda Peeth in the PoK.
Sharda is about 150 km from Muzaffarabad at an altitude of 1,981 metres. Shardi and Nardi are the two mountain peaks overlooking the valley, named after legendary princesses Sharda and Narda.
In response to the demand of the deputation, Khanna has written letters to Modi and Swaraj, requesting them for an appropriate action for allowing the Hindus of the state, in particularly the Kashmiri Pandits, to visit Sharda Peeth in August, ‘Ashtami of Shukla Paksha.’
Khanna also asked for modification in the conditions laid down for issuance of LoC permit by regional passport offices in Jammu and Srinagar that the permit may also be issued for religious purposes.
He also wrote that the demand of visiting Sharda Peeth was raised many times earlier also by All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) in 2005 during Vajpayee-Musharaf meet.
Recently, Ambassador of Pakistan, Abdul Basit made an admission in a TV conclave that pilgrimage yatra to Sharda Peeth will be allowed. He said that it is a very genuine demand and the matter requires to be taken up with J&K government and Pakistan government to make the yatra feasible through LoC permit or Wagah Border.
LoC permit at present is being issued by regional passport offices at Jammu and Srinagar to the residents, who want to meet their relatives across LoC. Khanna said that LoC permit also need to be issued for religious purposes to address the demand of Kashmiri Pandits.
A representative body of displaced Kashmiri Pandits has also asked chief minister (CM) Mehbooba Mufti to push for reopening of Sharda Peeth, a revered place of Kashmiri Hindus in PoK.