Kashmiri Hindus to start Kousar Nag Yatra on Tuesday

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 KL Report

SRINAGAR

A group of Kasmiri Pandits is all set to proceed for a Hindu Yara to a glacial lake of Kousar Nag nestled in the lap of the Pir Panjal range on Tuesday and it has given rise to a new controversy in the trouble torn Kashmir.

The environmentalists have pointed out the adverse impact the annual ritual is likely to have on the fresh-water body.

Kausar Nag Lake is located at an altitude of over 12,000 feet above sea level in Kashmir’s Shopian district.

A Kasmiri Pandit group the All Parties Migrants’ Coordination Committee is starting its Yatra on Tuesday and at least 4,000 people are set to embark on the pilgrimage to the lake.

Sources said the Hindus intend to reach Kausar Nag on Wednesday, and hold a six-day puja. The Yatris will take a dip in the lake before setting off for the return journey.

Kausar Nag is a glacial lake that is said to be among the Valley’s purest. The Jammu and Kashmir government, which declared the lake a place of religious significance for Hindus, has made extensive preparations for the pilgrims.

There are reports that helicopters may be pressed into service as well. The Reasi district administration is going to provide tents and other facilities to the pilgrims. The government is also planning to put up hoardings about the yatra at Katra, the base camp for the trek to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, to encourage visiting devotees to go there.

Questioning the introduction of new pilgrimage sites in Kashmir, separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has said the yatra would “destroy the fragile environment and water resources of Kashmir”. He added that the pilgrimage to Kausar Nag is part of an RSS agenda to “eliminate the Muslim identity of the region”.

“India is following in Kashmir the policy Israel implemented vis-a-vis Palestine. If this process is not stopped, we will have to face the same humiliation and bloodshed the Palestinian people are facing,” Geelani said.

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