Kheer Bhawani Temple Mela to Tribute JK’s Reasi Attack Victims


SRINAGAR: The Kheer Bhawani temple here is ready to host its annual three-day mela, beginning June 14, the management said on Thursday, announcing that thousands of ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) this year would be lightened to pay tributes to victims of recent terror attacks.

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The annual mela is celebrated by Kashmiri pandits on the occasion of ‘Zaisht Ashtami’ and thousands of community members within and outside Jammu and Kashmir visit the temples dedicated to their patron goddess Ragnya Devi to offer their prayers.

Kheer Bhawani Peeth in the Janipur area of Jammu was constructed as a replica of the original shrine at Tulmulla in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal after the mass migration of the community from the valley in the early 1990s.

“The three-day mela will begin on Friday and this year we have decided to light the ‘diyas’ as a tribute to the nine people and a CRPF jawan who lost their lives in recent terror attacks (in Reasi and Kathua districts),” Jai Kishan Khar, member of the temple management – Ardh Ratri Maha Regheneya Sewa Sanstha Trust – told PTI.

Nine people including seven pilgrims from outside Jammu and Kashmir were killed and 41 others were injured when terrorists attacked a bus returning from Shiv Khori shrine in Reasi district on Sunday evening.

The CRPF jawan was killed in a gunfight with terrorists in the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district in the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. Two terrorists were also killed in the encounter.

“The ‘diyas’ are traditionally lit on the occasion of the mela but we are in pain because of the loss of precious lives including that of a two-year-old boy. We will offer our prayers for peace to the departed souls of the terror victims and patience to their families,” Khar said.

He said one fails to understand how the terrorists are managing to enter Jammu and Kashmir and killing innocent persons. “Several thousand members of the community have left for Kashmir to take part in Kheer Bhawani mela there, while the annual Amarnath yatra is commencing later this month, therefore the government should take stern action against the terrorists and their supporters.”

Rajinder Pandita, another member of the Sanstha, said the temple is ready to welcome devotees from within and outside Jammu and Kashmir.

“The temple has been given a facelift like every year and all arrangements are in place for the mela. We have bought 15,000 diyas for the mela which will be lit in memory of terror victims,” he said, adding a large number of visitors are expected to take part in ‘hawan’ and ‘puran ahuti’.


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