Pandits celebrate Ganga Ashtami after 22 years in Valley

Excelsior Correspondent
Kupwara, Sept 23 : The temple of Sadhu Ganga in Kupwara district of North Kashmir witnessed massive crowds of devotees to celebrate the festival of Ganga Ashtami. Most of them Kashmiri Pandits, who made the journey from across the country attended the function today. The festival is being celebrated after 22 years after the Pandits left the area in 1990.
As devotees jostled with each other to move closer to the main temple complex, the chant of hymns echoed through the temple compound.  The event was possible due the unconditional support provided by the 47 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion (BIHAR) under aegis of 8 Sector RR/Kilo Force.
“This is a festival of Hindus but what I saw here is an example of brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims,” said Deen Dayalsharma, a Kashmiri Pandit, who now resides in Jammu.
“I am so happy that I came here.  I prayed for peace and harmony. Thanks to Army our dream of celebrating Ganga Ashtami here has been realised”, said Ramesh Sharma another Kashmiri Pandit who is visiting temple after 22 years.
The confidence of the Kashmiri Pandits saw a boost with more members of the community paying occasional visits to the valley with the improvement in the security situation in Kashmir at the turn of this century.  This is evident from the rising number of Pandits attending the Ganga Ashtami festival. Pandit families have also commenced their return to Kandi Bowl seeing the secure environment created by the people, civil administration & the Army. This reflects the change of situation in the Valley.

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