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J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti Visits Kheer Bhawani Temple

The festival is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood as the latter help in logistical arrangements for worship .

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Amidst chanting of religious hymns and the sound of temple bells, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits on Sunday prayed at the famous temple of Ragnya Devi in Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on the occasion of the annual Kheer Bhawani mela – a symbol of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also paid obeisance at the revered temple. She said there was a need to instill confidence among Kashmiri Pandits for their permanent return to the Valley and the present situation was not such that they could live in their native places.

The atmosphere was filled with festive fervour and brotherhood as devotees congregated at the temple of Mata Kheer Bhawani which is situated amidst majestic chinar trees. The mela has become a symbol of communal harmony as local Muslims make all the arrangements for the devotees including setting up of stalls for flowers and other offerings.

Walking barefoot and carrying rose petals, the devotees, mostly Kashmiri Pandits, thronged the temple to pay obeisance to the deity while offering milk and kheer (pudding) at the sacred spring within the complex.

Shortly after Mehbooba left the venue, a group of Pandits staged a protest raising slogans against the government and police for a stone-pelting incident on Saturday in which a devotee was injured. “We were welcomed with stones yesterday. Is this how they want us to return?” a protester said.

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

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