KCSDS Slams Mirwaiz's Support For Kausar Naag Yatra

16 August 2014
Rising Kashmir
Junaid Kathju

Srinagar: Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) Saturday rejected the proposal of Chairman Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to allow Kashmiri Pandits to take out the pilgrimage to Kousar Naag. Chairperson of KCSDS Dr Hameeda Nayeem opposing the statement of Mirwaiz said no pilgrimage should be allowed to Kousar Naag as 'it would be a complete catastrophe for the environment here'. 'I have already made it clear that any Yatra that would prove disastrous to the environment in Kashmir should be banned. We oppose any kind of Yatra in Kashmir that would be conducted at the cost of environment,' said Nayeem during the round table conference here. Nayeem said it is a 'sinister agenda' of some communal forces to create a new phenomenon of pilgrimage destinations in Kashmir to extend their sphere of influence in Kashmir. 'It is on behest of communal forces like RSS and BJP that lakhs of people from India visit Kashmir in the name of pilgrimage to encourage army here. These communal forces wanted to hijack Kashmir to extend their Hinduisation here,' said Nayeem. Nayeem said the authorities have located 10 more new pilgrimage destinations in Kashmir to start the Yatra. 'If we don't stand united against these communal forces time will come when Kashmiri Muslim will be squeezed in the corner and ultimately he will have to leave Kashmir,' said Nayeem. Nayeem said Kousar Naag was never a pilgrimage destination and people used to go there for trekking purposes only. 'Kousar Naag was never a pilgrimage destination, people only used to go there for trekking and it should only be confined to that. Some communal elements are hell bent on making it another Yatra destination for their own political interests,' said Nayeem. Seconding Nayeem, prominent civil society member Shakeel Qalander said Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has himself stated Kousar Naag was never a pilgrimage destination and were only used for puja purposes by some Kashmiri pandits. 'It is not we but the Home Ministry himself who has said that Kousar Naag was not a pilgrimage destination but was only used to perform puja on the day of Nag Panchami in the Shravan month of Hindu calendar,' said Qalander. Quoting Kashmiri Pandit leader and ruling National Conference Member of Legislative Council (MLC), Vijay Bakaya, Qalander said statement of Bakaya should be an eye opener for the people who are trying to declare Kousar Naag as another pilgrimage destination. In an interview to Rising Kashmir, Bakaya had said Kousar Naag was never a pilgrim destination and some groups were blowing the issue out of proportion. Senior pediatrician and civil society activist Dr Altaf Hussain slamming Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's statement for blaming Kashmiri people for damaging environment said it is the state government which is responsible for the environmental degradation in Kashmir. 'Instead of pointing figures towards Kashmiris, CM should do self-introspection. It is in his party's reign that renegades and army were given free hand to cut down the trees and then supplied outside state for their own benefits,' said Hussain. Hussain said Yatras like Amarnath, Vaishnu Devi, Kher Bhawani has been the main cause for ecological adversity in Kashmir. 'Sixty percent of Indians don't have toilets and when they came to Kashmir they relieve themselves in open here. They have destroyed our environment for several years on the name of Yatra,' said Hussain. Hussain said Kousar Naag Yatra is manufactured mythology which has been concocted by some communal elements to assert their political vendetta in Kashmir. 'We are not against the ritual of any religion but we oppose any false mythology which are being manufactured in the name of Pilgrimage to establishment its own political agendas in Kashmir,' said Hussain. Others who spoke on the occasion were noted poet Zareef Ahmad Zareef, KHARA president Showkat Chowdhary, KEA Adhoc chairman Farooq Dar, columnist Javed Iqbal, former president of JKCCI Mubeen Shah, Human right activist Khurram Parvez and senior journalist Masood Hussain. All the speakers emphasized to work for the betterment of the environment and shoulder the responsibility to educate the masses about its preservation.