April 12, 2011
Shukla Navami , Kaliyug Varsha 5113
SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, April 12 (Xinhua) – Thousands of Hindus Tuesday thronged the temples across Indian- controlled Kashmir to offer prayers on the eve of Ramnavmi ( celebrations to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Ram), officials said.
The temples in twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar witnessed a huge rush of devotees since morning in wake of this Hindu festival that is being celebrated with traditional religious fervor and gaiety.
In Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir Kashmiri Hindus (locally called Pandits) visited temples and greeted each other. The main function was held at Ramji Mandir in Barbarshah locality of Srinagar, where hundreds of Hindu devotees had gathered to perform the Pooja (prayers).
Most of the devotees were from the families that braved all odds and preferred to stay in their homeland.
A large portion (34,204 families) of Kashmiri Hindus migrated from the Muslim majority areas of the region to Jammu city and northern states of India after anti-Indian armed insurgency broke down in the region in 1989.
The officials maintain 219 Kashmiri Hindus were killed in the two decades long militancy in the region.
Sanjay Tikoo, the chairman Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti ( KPSS), an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits staying in Kashmir valley says currently there are 651 families with of population of 2,764 Kashmiri Pandits staying in and outside Srinagar.
Tikoo had done a headcount of his community in 2008.
Government figures put the number of families staying in and outside Srinagar around 808.
The India’s state broadcaster All India radio (AIR) reports that in north Indian states people widely thronged the temples and participated in the Ramanvami procession, locally called Rath Yatra.
According to AIR, in Hardwar a large number of pilgrims took a holy dip in river Ganga amid tight security. Special prayers are also going on at Ayodhya city of Uttar Pradesh, where thousands of Hindu devotees have gathered to take part in religious ceremonies.
Source: Xinhua Net