Not a traditional yatra like Amarnath: Kichloo

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/2/2014 11:27:01 AM

SRINAGAR, Aug 01: Minister of state for home Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo today said that Kousarnag pilgrimage is not a traditional Yatra like Amarnath Yatra but the same is being managed by its local management.
Talking to media, he said, “I do not know people are making it controversial when the Kousarnag is not a place for traditional Yatra like Amarnath Yatra.”
The minister of state for home informed that a few hundred people visit the Kousar Nag annually to offer prayers from Reasi and no pilgrims visit the place from Valley via Kulgam district. “Some 150 to 200 people visit this place annually for the last four to five years and the government has nothing to do with its management but these special prayers are being organized by the local management of this place,” Kichloo added.
Kichloo said that he fails to understand why such a non issue has been turned into a controversy.
Home secretary Suresh Kumar stated that no permission for any Yatra at Kousarnag was issued.
He stated that it is a mere rumour that any Yatra would take place at Kousarnag and the state government has issued permission for the same. “In actual, it is no traditional yatra but only a puja that used to take place near Kousarnag years ago.”
Kumar remarked that from the last few years, some people of a particular community offer prayers at the place and that no Yatra as such has ever been scheduled or taken place in the area.
When asked about the reports that a fully fledged Yatra shall be arranged and the Kousarnag would be made as a Yatra venue like Shri Armarnath pilgrimage, he said the state government has no such proposal and that only the usual prayers are held by some people every year near the stream. “By issuing strike calls against the so called Yatra, separatists may have their own agenda but as far as the government is concerned, no proposal for Yatra is there.”
Tourism minister and a senior Congress leader Ghulam Ahmad Mir said Kousarnag is a tourist destination and not a pilgrimage destination.
Mir stated that the entire matter is local in nature and that the state government has no role vis-à-vis the Kousarnag issue. “The fact of the matter is that some locals for worshipping near the Kousarnag asked for the security from the state administration. The issue is now being given an unnecessary hype and in actual the tourism department has no intention in changing Kousarnag into a pilgrimage site,” he said.
He added that Kousarnag will always be a tourist destination and that no effort has been going on to convert it into any pilgrimage destination. “Some locals also worshipped near the stream last year. This is a usual prayer that the people offer near the Kousarnag and calling it a Yatra is a misnomer.”



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