BJP Slams Omar's Government For 'appeasing' Separatists By Banning Kounsar Nag Yatra

2 August 2014
Daily Mail
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: Accusing the Omar-led government in J&K government of taking forward the separatist agenda and banning Kounsar Nag Yatra, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday demanded the state government allow Kashmir Pandits to take out the pilgrimage route from the south Kashmir route. 'Banning the yatra under pressure from the intolerant fanatics in Kashmir, the NC-Congress coalition has endorsed the communally-motivated charge of Geelani (Syed Ali Geelani) that the Kounsar Nag yatra is Centre's conspiracy against Kashmir and is a cultural aggression of the Hindus on Muslim Kashmir,' the BJP state general secretary Bali Bhagat Saturday told reporters in Jammu. The state government has denied permission to a group of Kashmiri Pandits from taking out a yatra to the glacial spring of Kaunsar Nag in south Kashmir. The Valley observed a strike against turning Kounsar Naag lake into a Hindu pilgrimage site on the call of separatists. 'NC-Congress coalition will have to pay a very heavy price for the crime it committed against the nation by denying the Kashmiri Pandits their natural right to undertake the annual Kounsar Nag yatra,' he said. The state government on Thursday cancelled the pilgrimage from Kashmir to the virgin glacial lake nestled in the lap of the Pir Panjal mountain range located at an altitude of over 12,000 feet above sea level in Kashmir's Kulgam district, while allowing the yatra through Jammu's Reasi district. Comments: BJP state general secretary Bali Bhagat said the NC-Congress coalition will pay a 'heavy price' for denying access to the Kashmiri Pandits The government was forced to take action following a strong reaction from the local population, the state secretary of the CPI (M) and separatists. 'Kounsar Nag Yatra is not a new phenomenon; it is an ancient yatra. The holy lake is worshiped by the Hindus since times immemorial and it is connected with God Vishnu,' Bali Bhagat said. While the state government said there is no tradition of yatra at the lake except a ritual puja, Bhagat said: 'Why should the Kashmiri Pandits come to Reasi to undertake yatra from there to Kounsar Naag,' he asked. Meanwhile, Kashmir valley observed a complete strike against any move to change the Kounsar Nag into a religious site. The call was given by separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani. The strike affected normal life in the Valley with shops and business establishments remained closed and public transport was off the roads. Speaking to Mail Today, the state secretary of the CPI(M) and MLA Kulgam, Muhammad Yusuf Taragami, said: 'Kounsar Nag is famous tourist destination and it should remain as tourist destination.' The trek to Kausar Naag lake has been an annual affair for the past three years from Reasi district of Jammu. But this is the first time a Kasmiri Pandit group, the All Parties Migrants' Coordination Committee, tried to take the yatra from the valley, which the government didn't allow after separatists raised the issue.