J&K govt removes officer who issued order for Kashmiri Pandits visiting Kheer Bhawani temple

Days after Deputy Commissioner (Relief), Jammu, asked Kashmiri Pandits intending to visit temples in the Valley on Kheer Bhawani festival next month to register themselves, J&K government on Monday removed him.

While Kashmiri Pandits visit Tulmulla temple in Ganderbal every year for the festival, Deputy Commissioner (Relief) K S Sidha had added three more destinations — Tikker in Kupwara, Manzgam in Kulgam, and Mattan in Anantnag — in the application of registration.

“An officer of my department had issued the notice without my knowledge. I have relieved him from my department and have started a process to write to GAD (General Administration Department) to attach him,” state Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation Javed Mustafa Mir told the media in Srinagar. “I had no information about it (the order).”

On May 10, Sidha issued an application format and asked people from Kashmiri Pandit community intending to visit temples in the Valley to register themselves. “All Kashmiri Migrants desirous of undertaking pilgrimage to Mata Kheer Bhawani Tulmulla (ganderbal)/Tikker (Kupwara)/ Manzgam (Kulgam)/Mattan (Anantnag) during the current financial year on the ensuing Zestha Ashtami, which falls on 20-06-2018, are requested to provide their consent on the following format to the concerned Zonal Officer/Camp Commandant by or before 20-05-2018,” the notification stated.

“The pilgrimage for Mata Kheer Bhawani Tulmulla (Ganderbal) will start from Jammu on 19-06-2018 for Tulmulla Ganderbal and for Tikker (Kupwara) and Manzgam (Kulgam) on 18-06-2018 and return from Kashmir on 20-06-2018,” it stated.

Minister Mir said Kashmiri Pandits are sons of the soil and do not need to register themselves for any pilgrimage in the Valley. “They can come whenever they want. They don’t need to ask us,” he said, adding that the government is constituting a committee to look into the issue.

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