Pandits denied persmission to visit Sharda temple in PoK

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Srinagar, Oct 3 (UNI) A 11-member Kashmiri Pandit delegation on a peace mission to Sharda Peeth temple in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) was denied permission by the authorities to cross the Line of Control (LOC).

''How was it possible to permit the delegation members to cross the LoC when they don't have travel documents,'' official sources said adding this was not possible as authorities on the other side would also not accept them.

They said only those having proper travel documents approved by authorities in POK and here were allowed to undertake journey on the Karvan-e-Aman bus, which is operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad after every fortnight.

Officials said despite denial of permission by the authorities, the Kashmiri pandits yesterday tried to undertake the pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth temple, one of the revered shrines of the community in Neelam (Kishanganga) valley just beyond the LoC in PoK. It is located in a small village called Shardi near the confluence of Kishanganga and Madhumati rivers.

Under the banner of Pir Panjal organisation, the Kashmiri pandits chanting slogans 'Sharda Mata ki Jai' left from Durga Nag temple here for Kaman Post, the last Indian military post before the LoC.

Sources said as the delegation, reached near the headquarters of the Uri brigade, they were stopped and directed to get proper permission from the authorities.

''We are a peace mission,'' the delegation members said, adding they want to undertake the journey only to restore peace between the two countries. However, they said they were disappointed after they had to return from 20 km, short of the LoC.

A number of separatist organisations made several attempts in the past to cross the LoC from PoK and this side but were denied permission by the authorities on both sides of the border.

About a dozen people were killed when JKLF members tried to cross the LoC from PoK side in the 1990s.

UNI

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