Protest in South Kashmir over reports of plan to build temple

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Srinagar, July 31: Tension is brewing in Aharbal area of South Kashmir as the residents today took to the streets in protest against reported plans to build a temple for starting an annual yatra to the ecologically-fragile Kounsarnag area.

Hundreds of residents of Aharbal and its surrounding areas staged a protest and marched towards Kounsarnag area of Kulgam district, police said.

The protesters were stopped by police at Gurwattan, leading to clashes, the police said, adding that the situation in the area continues to be tense.

A local newspaper had last week reported that the Reasi District Administration was planning to facilitate an annual yatra to Kounsarnag where a pristine lake is situated.

The lake and the surrounding glaciers are feeding points for several fresh water bodies in the area. However, government officials and Tourism Minister G A Mir neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

Meanwhile, hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a shutdown on Saturday against the reported plans to start the annual yatra to Kounsarnag.


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