After 75 long years, Kashmiri pandits celebrated the Kumbh Mela at the confluence of rivers Jehlum and Sindh in Shadipora area in north Kashmir, situated at a distance of 30 kms from Srinagar. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits, attended the Mela Kheer Bhawani, participated in the Kumbh Mela and took a dip in rivers, an act which is believed to wash off their sins.
The J&K government had made elaborate arrangements of transport, security and sanitation at the spot. The local Muslim population, mostly on fast had set up makeshift stalls, providing necessary items including flowers, fruits, vegetables, juices and other consumables. The locals had arranged for boats to help Kashmiri Pandits cross the rivers.
According to The Times Of India, the Kumbh was celebrated peacefully in an otherwise politically charged atmosphere, where the government, last week, disallowed the Abhinav Gupta Yatra in Budgam district. Their decision to bring back the Pandits to exclusive settlements has also been widely criticised.
“This yug has come after 75 years. I hope, pray and wait that I will also come back one day to my homeland,” Dr Bansi Lal Sharma, who lives in Jammu but has not sold his property in Tral, told The Economic Times. Dr Bansi Lal claims to be one of the last Pandit families, who left the Valley in May 1990. Like the doctor, many other Kashmiri Pandits, claimed that if they came back they should not be targeted or tortured by being in vulnerable colonies. “They should set up settlements within the local population in every tehsil, so that we can mingle and not be an eyesore,” said Sanjay Pandita, who lives in Jammu.
According to A K Koul of Maha Kumbh Celebration Committee, the last Kumbh was celebrated in Valley in 1941, in which he claims thousands of people participated. And today, as per the Hindu tradition, configuration of ten celestial bodies has again happened after 75 years, which is a very sacred configuration for the Kashmiri Pandits.