The Jammu and Kashmir government has said it would not grant permission for the “Abhinavgupt Yatra” in central Kashmir’s Budgam area. The moves comes after villagers in central Kashmir and separatist outfits objected to the yatra, saying it had no historical background, and alleged that it was a ploy of RSS-backed outfits. BJP legislators in the Upper House created an uproar on Friday, saying that disallowing the yatra was an interference in religious matters.
State Education Minister and the PDP-BJP government’s spokesperson Nayeem Akthar said the government has not received any formal request from the organisers. “The government is clear that it will not allow any yatra that has no historical or traditional background,” he said.
Recently, the Acharya Abhinavgupt Sheshadri Samaroh Samiti had announced that they would organise a yatra in central Kashmir’s Berwah area. They claimed that Abhinavgupt, a philosopher and mystic, had meditated in a cave in the area. Members of the Samiti, it is learnt, met several Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley and migrant camps and sought their participation in the yatra. While this is the first time that the Samiti has planned to bring out the yatra, sources said they intend to make it an annual affair.
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A religious body in central Kashmir, Anjuman Mazharul Haq, has claimed that it had filed a PIL in high court, challenging the veracity of the Samiti’s claim. The court, the outfit has claimed, had said there was no historical evidence to prove that Abhinavgupt visited the cave in Berwah. The group said they would not allow the yatra that is “aimed at creating a divide between communities”.
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has also objected to the yatra and said it was an instance of “cultural aggression”. “Kashmiri people have always welcomed tourists and yatris who come for traditional yatras. But this so-called yatra is a brain child of RSS and is aimed at driving a wedge between communities.”
Meanwhile, BJP legislators created a ruckus over the issue in the Upper House on Friday. Party MLAs led by Ramesh Arora said disallowing the yatra amounted to interference in religious matters. They claimed that the cave has been mentioned in religious scriptures and alleged that the state government was acting under pressure from separatists.