‘Time to heal wounds of past’: Mirwaiz Umar calls for return of Pandits to Kashmir

He also urged the community to live in harmony with the Muslim brethren of the valley who share a common culture and heritage. “This pulpit stands witness to our continuous efforts and sincere intentions towards facilitating their homecoming,” he added.

The chairman of the Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in his recent speech has called upon the Kashmiri Pandit community to return to Kashmir, stating that their motherland waits for them.

The Hurriyat senior leader made these statements while addressing Friday’s sermon on June 14 at the historic grand mosque (Jamia Masjid) at Nowhatta Srinagar.

Mirwaiz also felicitated the Kashmiri Pandit community on the Kheer Bhawani Mela occasion. The Mela (fair) Kheer Bhawani is a local annual festival celebrated by the Kashmiri Pandit community to mark ‘Zyeth Atham’ or ‘Jyeshtha Ashtami’, where thousands of Pandits gather at the Mata Kheer Bhawani temple at Tulmulla village in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district to pay their respects.

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Local Muslims of the village also visit the ancient temple, inviting their old Pandit neighbours to their homes and participating in the cultural festivities.

In his congregation speech, Mirwaiz emphasized the need for the Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homeland, stating that it is time to reconcile and rebuild the broken bonds. “We welcome our Kashmiri Pandit brethren who have come to Kashmir for Mela Kheer Bhawani. The people of the valley have always had a strong yearning for the Pandith community to return to their ancestral homes.”

He also urged the community to live in harmony with the Muslim brethren of the valley who share a common culture and heritage. “This pulpit stands witness to our continuous efforts and sincere intentions towards facilitating their homecoming,” he added.

He also urged Muslims of the valley to extend a warm embrace to the returning Pandits. “It is our solemn duty being the majority in this land, to wholeheartedly welcome them back, he added.”

Pertinently, the Kashmiri Pandits fled the valley in 1990 due to the eruption of insurgency in the region. The relationship between the Kashmiri Pandit and Muslim communities has been strained, with the former often feeling unable to return to their ancestral homes.

The Mirwaiz’s statement has been welcomed by regional politicians, including Omar Abdullah (Nc), Mehbooba Mufti(PDP ), Sajad Lone (JKPC), and Altaf Bukhari (KAP) who praised the move as a positive step towards reconciliation and the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Mirwaiz condemned Dal Lake incident

In his speech, Mirwaiz also condemned the Dal Lake incident and called on the administration to enforce strict guidelines to prevent such actions from happening in future.

Pertinently, last week, two tourists were arrested for allegedly consuming liquor during a shikara ride in Dal Lake here.

The step was taken by the city police after a video of the episode made rounds on the internet, police said.

Notably, consuming liquor in public places is prohibited in Kashmir.

Mirwaiz also cryptically criticized those who “supported” the tourists for consuming alcohol openly in the famous tourist hub Dal Lake located in Srinagar.

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