NEW DELHI, Jan 13: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has been approached by “Save Sharda Committee Kashmir”, a registered organization, for facilitating the resumption of annual Sharda Peeth Yatra to Sharda in district Muzaffarabad in Pak occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK). The Yatra has remained suspended since 1948.
A delegation led by Ravinder Pandita, a Kashmiri Hindu Activist, held a detailed meeting in this regard with the Minister and discussed with him the various aspects and the sanctity of the Yatra. In a written representation, they stated that the Yatra used to be undertaken annually in the month of August i.e. Badaun on Ashtami of Shukla Paksh and would take the route via Kupwara in Kashmir to the Peeth in PoJK. The Yatra was largely organized by the Dogra rulers in the pre-independence era, but has remained suspended after 1948.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed the members of the delegation that he is aware of the issue and has also held a series of meetings in this regard. The permission for the resumption of Yatra or even to undertake a symbolic Yatra, to begin with, requires to be obtained after clearance from Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence, and only after that, the Ministry of External Affairs is approached for further formalities. He said, a detailed document in this regard was already placed before the Union Home Ministry last year and it is in circulation for obtaining the requisite clearances from different quarters.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Union Home Ministry has been actively cooperating on the issue but the process of obtaining clearances also requires the cognizance of the Ministry of Defence and inputs from the various security agencies, because it involves crossing over to the other side of the border. Dr Jitendra said, he would again take up the issue with the Ministry of Defence and try to address the reservations expressed.
Besides Ravinder Pandita, prominent among others who attended the meeting with Dr Jitendra Singh included Desraj Kaul, Pradeep Pandita, Kusum Pandita, Ramesh Tikoo, B.L. Zutshi, Veena Pandita, Pradeep Pandita, Ratna, Digvijay Chaturvedi, Rahul Trivedi and others.