Kashmiri Pandits Current Affairs - 2019
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With commencement of annual festival of Kheer Bhawani Mela on Zeasht Ashtami, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit devotees prayed at famous Ragnya Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) Ganderbal district.
An elaborate security arrangement was made by J&K administration so that mela passed off peacefully for devotees who thronged temple from across the country.
- Every year on Zyeshta Ashtami (this year fell on 10 June), thousands of Kashmiri Pandits visit temple, located about 14 km east of Srinagar, to pay their obeisance. Zyestha Ashtami is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits across the country and outside as the day marks commencing of annual pilgrimage.
- Temples Visited: Over 60,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits from various parts of India as well as abroad visited five famous temples of Tulmulla (in Ganderbal district), Tikker (in Kupwara), Laktipora Aishmuqam (in Anantnag) and Mata Tripursundri Devsar and Mata Kheerbhawani Manzgam (in Kulgam district) in Kashmir valley during Mela Kheerbhawani.
About Mela Kheer Bhawani
- It is one of the biggest religious functions of displaced community of Kashmiri Pandits, who were forcefully evicted from Valley in 1990s by militants.
- The devotees carry rose petals, walk barefoot, offer tribute to goddess and offer milk and kheer (pudding) at sacred spring.
- Belief: The colour of water in spring, which flows below temple, is believed to be an indication of the valley’s well-being i.e. the colour foretells the events that will unfold in next 12 months till next festival. Black or darkish colour of water in spring is believed to be a sign of inauspicious times for Kashmir valley. This time, the water in spring was of clean and milky white colour.
- Significance: The pilgrimage has become a symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood as Muslims in locality make all kinds of arrangements for the Kashmiri Pandits devotees, such as setting up of stalls for flowers and other offerings, offering milk in small earthen pots to devotees coming to pray.
The Central Government has banned the Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as an unlawful association under the provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front
- Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is spearheading the separatist ideology in the Kashmir valley and has been at the forefront of the separatist activities and violence since 1988.
- It is also alleged that JKLF was involved in murders of Kashmiri Pandits in 1989 which led to their exodus from the valley.
- It is also said that JKLF is posing a security threat to the country and is posing threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
- JKLF is also actively and continuously encouraging feelings of enmity and hatred against the lawfully established government as well as armed rebellion.
The decision to ban JKLF was taken in accordance with the policy of zero tolerance against terrorism.
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967
UAPA is anti-terrorist law aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. UAPA’s objective is to provide necessary powers to the investigating agencies to act against activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
UAPA bans certain terrorist associations, penalises membership and association with such organizations and punishes terrorist activities. UAPA imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of freedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably without arms and to form associations in interests of sovereignty and integrity of India.