PoK residents taste secular Id celebration
1 January 2007
Rajouri: Many Pakistan-occupied Kashmir citizens got a first-hand feel of communal harmony and secular values here on Id ul-Adha as they celebrated the day with people belonging to various faiths. Their scheduled crossing of the border could not take place on Monday as the bus service from Poonch could not be operated. 'We were supposed to return today to be with our families across the Line of Control. But staying here on the Id day was a great experience for my wife and me. We were able to get a first-hand view to clear our misconceptions. We were overjoyed to participate in the Id celebration with people from all religious backgrounds,' says Zahid Baig, who came here in the first week of December from the Kotli area of Pakistan - occupied Kashmir. Special experience 'This is a special experience and I will certainly tell people across the Line of Control,' he said. There has been propaganda from across the Line of Control that that Kashmiris here do not have the liberty to celebrate their festivals in a free manner. The misconception has to a great extent motivated PoK and Pakistan nationals to join militants. In 2002, 17-year-old Abdullah, apprehended for carrying out the massacre of 29 slum-dwellers in Rajiv Nagar, said he was motivated to join the militant ranks after he heard that the Jammu and Kashmir residents were not allowed to celebrate festivals and visit mosques.