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Kheer Bhavani Mela – 18,000 Kashmiri Hindus visited Kheer Bhavani temple  

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Jammu Kashmir/New Delhi.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday that around 18,000 Kashmiri Hindus and other devotees visited the Kheer Bhavani temple in Kashmir Valley’s Ganderbal district on Jyeshtha Ashtami.

The statement comes in the wake of a string of targeted attacks against Kashmiri Pandits and members of the Hindu community in the Valley since October 2021. The festival couldn’t be held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. The MHA said that over the years, the Kheer Bhavani congregation has become a symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood in Kashmir.

“Elaborate security arrangements were made and the event was monitored by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha,” the statement said.

Around 2,500 Kashmiri Pandit devotees participated in the evening aarti, the Ministry said. The religious sanctity of the Mata Kheer Bhavani temple, built atop a holy spring, has a special spiritual significance among Kashmir Pandit devotees across the world.

MHA said that a free bus service was run from Srinagar Airport, Tourist Reception Centre, Dal Lake Side Nehru Park, Shankaracharya Temple, Shivpora, Bibi Cantt, Indira Nagar, etc., in areas where Hindu communities live in large numbers.

“Full attention was given to ensure that devotees do not face any kind of problem. Parking facility was provided for vehicles near the temple premises. Mobile urinals have also been made available at all suitable places,” the MHA said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, “Happy Jyestha Ashtami to all, especially Kashmiri Pandit sisters and brothers. We pray to Mata Kheer Bhavani for everyone’s well-being and prosperity.”

Amit Shah tweeted, “On this holy festival, I extend warm greetings to all Kashmiri Pandit brothers and sisters and pray for the progress and prosperity of the country by bowing at the feet of Maa Kheer Bhavani.”

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