Demon-King Ravana burnt in Kashmir after 20 years

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Srinagar, Oct 21 (UNI) Dussehra, the festival which symbolises victory of good over evil and truth over falsehood, was celebrated in the strife-torn Kashmir valley today after nearly 20 years.

The effigy of ten-headed demon-king of Lanka, Ravana was burnt here after nearly two decades with he only difference being that this time the effigy was set ablaze in the Sher-i-Kashmir cricket stadium and not at Iqbal Park, previously known as Hazuri Bagh, where it used to be put to flames.

The last Dussehra festival in Kashmir was held 1n 1987 at Hazuri Bagh.

Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits also celebrated the festival here, nearly 19 years after they migrated to other parts of the country, following eruption of militancy in Kashmir in late 1980s.

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPPS) had organised the celebration programme which was also attended by several Muslims.

''Our Muslim brethren highly encouraged us to continue such religious functions. 'Shoba yatra' was taken out in Srinagar this September after nearly 18 years in a peaceful atmosphere. As a mark of true brotherhood, hundreds of Muslims also joined the yatra,'' KPPS president Sanjay K Tickoo said in a statement here.

He said the Kashmiri Pandits, who did not migrate, have been totally ignored by the world community. ''To show our presence to the world, we decided to start the age-old traditions and religious functions under the banner of KPPS,'' Mr Tickoo added.

The KPPS thanked the state administration for its cooperation in organising the festival in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the Bader Kali festival concluded peacefully in Handwara yesterday on the eve of Mahanavmi.

Around 400 Kashmiri Pandit pilgrims attended the celebrations.

About 1000 local Muslims welcomed the migrant Kashmir Pandits and joined them in the festivities.

UNI

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