“Pakistan’s prestigious media house Dawn has come up with a pictorial feature … showing seven odd young Kashmiri boys offering Namaz in a make-shift prayer place on its magnificent banks. … Behind those offering prayers lays hanging a huge banner, seeking donations for ‘reconstruction’ of Masjid Sharief, Syed Akbar, Ahrabal. On a corner of the slightly raised stone fencing, stands a tall post fluttering a green flag. This is exactly the location, which some Kashmiri Pandits claim to have been worshipping from times immemorial as ‘Vishnu Paad’, foot print of Bhagwan Vishnu.” – Vivek Sharma
Now that the controversy over holy Kounsar Nag in Kashmir was gradually dying down, Pakistan’s prestigious media house Dawn has come up with a pictorial feature in its multimedia segment on 11th August, showing seven odd young Kashmiri boys offering Namaz in a make-shift prayer place on its magnificent banks in the scenic backdrop of Pir Panchal ranges. Behind those offering prayers lays hanging a huge banner, seeking donations for ‘reconstruction’ of Masjid Sharief, Syed Akbar, Ahrabal. On a corner of the slightly raised stone fencing, stands a tall post fluttering a green flag.
This is exactly the location, which some Kashmiri Pandits claim to have been worshipping from times immemorial as ‘Vishnu Paad’, foot print of Bhagwan Vishnu. The pilgrimage to this lake by about 40 Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley route was allegedly denied, after proper permission, by the District Administration Kulgam, for the fear of causing ecological disaster. Ruling National Conference legislator, Dr Syed Bashir Ahmed Veeri was among the first in mainstream camp to oppose the Yatra, saying, “We must not allow this. These virgin spaces shall be left out of the human intervention as these pose grave threat to Kashmir ecology.” The controversial Congress Minister Ghulam Ahmed Mir vehemently opposed the Yatra, saying it was not a pilgrim destination but will be developed as tourist attraction. The high pitch opposition by separatists and secessionists led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who forced Kashmir shut down in protest against the Yatra, is seen by defence experts as a move to keep higher reaches in the Valley out of bounds for ensuring safe havens for terrorists.
With new twist to the holy lake of Kounsar Nag by Dawn of Pakistan, a mischievous impression is sought to be created for raising or ‘reconstructing’ a mosque, which is fraught with the danger of raising passions. The report supporting is quite inflammable and far from facts. For example, the report describes the lake as source to Jhelum River, which is factually incorrect.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad has taken strong exception to communalising the situation and “Islamisation of the State”. Patron VHP J and K Ramakant Dubey told State Times that the lake has been worshipped by Hindus for over 5,000 years and under a conspiracy and diktat of separatists; a group of Kashmiri Pandits were stopped from proceeding towards this holy place. He threatened of launching an agitation if the Governments continued to succumb to the pressure of separatists.
Senior Bajrang Dal activist and BJP leader, Susheel Sudan said that the matter is being taken up with the central leadership as the “State Government was playing into the hands of separatists”. He expressed regrets over Hindus being denied permission for Yatra while there was nothing wrong with fencing a spot for offering prayers.
Sudan wondered why the Congress minister and National Conference legislator had maintained silence over a make-shift mosque being raised at a place they deem to be kept away from human intervention.
“The development is alarming; it is an attempt to make the lake out of bounds for Hindus either from the Valley or Reasi forever”, he said while seeking immediate corrective measures in the interest of peace and amity.
Recounting the significance of the lake for Kashmiri Pandits, Vinod Dua said that Kashmir owes its name to Saint Kashyap and, therefore, various lakes and mountainous ranges have religious sanctity for them. “This fact cannot be wished away by the so-called secularists or fundamentalists like Geelani, Yasin Malik or Shabir Shah”, he added. – State Times, 13 August 2014
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