This Article is From Jun 12, 2016

Mehbooba Mufti Visits Kheer Bhawani Mela, Meets Kashmiri Pandits

Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits had thronged the Kheer Bhawani Temple in Ganderbal district.

Srinagar: SRINGAR:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today met Kashmiri Pandits at Kheer Bhawani mela in Ganderbal, 35 km from Srinagar. Ms Mufti also met with two Pandit pilgrims who were injured during clashes between protesters and police yesterday.  

The Pandits were in a bus that was caught in the middle of a clash between the police and group of protesters pelting stones at Wanpoh yesterday, in which two women were injured.

Calling the incident "unfortunate", Ms Mufti said, "It creates a wrong impression as lots of young Kashmiris are studying outside. There will be stigma associated with those involved in stone pelting incidents in the future."

The protest at Wanpoh was over the establishment of a police post and the bus was caught in the middle of the clash around 10.30 pm. One of the passengers, Mansi Koul, had sustained head injuries from glass splinters of a window that got broken during stone-pelting at Wanpoh in Kulgam district last night, a police official said.

Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits had thronged the Kheer Bhawani Temple in Ganderbal district to be a part of the annual mela.

This year's celebrations are coming in the backdrop of rising tension over a proposal to rehabilitate displaced Pandits in separate colonies in the Valley. Ms Mufti reassured the pandits that the government was committed to give them full security and bring them back to the valley with dignity.

"Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits.... They will be brought back to Kashmir, but first they will be settled in transit accommodation along with other Muslim migrants, after that, it is their wish where they want to live in the valley," the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister's words are reassuring for people like 80-year-old Rattan Rani, who migrated from Pulwama to Jammu 25 years ago. Her last wish is to return home and die in the Valley.

She could not hold back tears while narrating the hardships after migrating from Kashmir. "I'm praying to God... We want to back to our home in Kashmir, but with happiness. We are facing a lot of problems outside Kashmir," she said.