150 devotees from Reasi route performed puja on Aug 1 and returned same day
The controversy over a proposal of Kashmiri Pandits to undertake yatra to Kausar Naag was a result of “hype” given to a “low-key event” which has no link to rehabilitation of the displaced people, Government of India said Monday, adding the issue has subsided now.
Responding to a calling attention motion, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said before the onset of militancy in 1989, traditionally the devotees used to visit the Kausar Naag lake situated at an altitude of about 12,000 feet in Pir Panjal range in south Kashmir.
He said the devotees used to visit this place in an unorganized manner to perform puja on the day of Naag Panchami in the Shravan month of Hindu calendar.
“The puja, however, got disrupted with the eruption of militancy. The puja was resumed by devotees a few years back following improvement in the overall security scenario through its traditional route — Gul Gulab Garh via Reasi with its base camp at Chassana village in Reasi district of Jammu region,” Singh said.
The calling attention was given by K Kavitha (TRS), Anurag Thakur, Sanjay Jaiswal (both BJP) and B Mahtab (BJD) regarding decision to disallow Kausar Nag Yatra from Kashmir side.
Giving details, Singh said the state administration has been making security arrangements for the pilgrims coming from Reasi side and this year also, a batch of 150 devotees who came from the traditional route performed puja on August 1 and returned the same day.
Another group of Kashmiri Pandits was disallowed to undertake a parallel yatra from the valley side of Kulgam and they were advised to go from the Reasi side. The offer was turned down by the leader of the Kashmiri Pandit group.
“The above said event, however, has led to a major controversy between the Jammu-based groups and Kashmiri Migrant Committee on the one side which gave hype to a low-key event of a group of pilgrims performing puja on the day of Naag Panchami and on the other side, the valley-based separatists, and the mainstream political parties which called the event, a well-planned conspiracy and projected the event as having an adverse environmental impact on the Kausar Nag area,” he said.
He said few prominent leaders of the state expressed that the issue was neither communal nor ecological but politically- motivated in order to create a 2008 agitation like situation where one community was pitted against another and made the issue as Jammu region vs Kashmir.
“The issue, for the time being, has subsided,” added Home Minister.