SRINAGAR: The declaration of ‘Kousarnag’ yatra which leads to a crystal clear lake in south Kashmir as a pilgrimage destination for’ Hindus’ is likely to snowball into a major controversy with locals protesting against the move. To protest against the proposed Yatra to the lake, a complete shutdown is being observed in twin districts of south Kashmir, Kulgam and Shopian for the second running day today. All shops and business establishments remained closed in both the townships while passenger traffic is also off the roads. The call for shutdown has been given by ‘Save Kousarnag Front’.
“The route leading to the crystal clear lake is ecologically fragile. The yatra via this route will lead to ecological disaster in the area. We won’t allow the Yatra at the cost of the environment of the area,” said a member of the front. The separatist leaders of the valley have also threatened to launch agitation against the Yatra. However fearing agitation on the pattern of 2010 the government has withdrawn the permission for the pilgrimage through this route.
Sources said that the deputy commissioner Kulgam, Nisar Hussain who had granted permission to a pandit group for carrying out pilgrimage has now withdrawn the same. Sources said that the top officials from administration and police last evening held an emergency at the office of the deputy commissioner in this regard. “In the meeting it was decided that no yatra will be allowed through Aharabal road in Kulgam district,” sources said.A top official official wishing anonymity said that the pandit group organizing the yatra has been intimated about the decision. “The group has been asked to perform Yatra via traditional route in Riasi district,” the official said.