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Khanna writes Modi, Sushma for pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth

During his recent visit to Jammu, Avinash Rai Khanna, BJP National Vice-President & Incharge Jammu and Kashmir, met a deputation of Save Sharda Committee Kashmir (Regd.) who requested for allowing Hindu pilgrims of Jammu and Kashmir to visit Sharda Peeth, presently in Pakistan occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir.

In response to the demand of the deputation, Avinash Rai Khanna has written letters to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, requesting them for an appropriate action to allow the Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir State, in particularly the Kashmiri Pandits, to visit Sharda Peeth in the month of August, i.e. Ashtami of Shukla Paksha.

Avinash Rai Khanna also asked for modification in the conditions laid down for issuance of LOC Permit by Regional Passport Office (RPO) Jammu and RPO Srinagar with the addition that the Permit may also be issued for religious purposes. He has written that the demand of visiting Sharda Peeth was raised many times earlier also by All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) in 2005 during former Prime Minister Vajpayee-Musharaf meet.

Khanna said that recently, the Ambassador of Pakistan, Abdul Basit, made an admission in a TV conclave that pilgrimage yatra to Sharda Peeth would be allowed. He laid the emphasis that it is a very genuine demand and the matter requires to be taken up with J&K Government and Pakistan Government, making yatra feasible through LOC Permit meant for State Subjects of Jammu and Kashmir or through Wagah Border. He also mentioned that LOC Permit at present is being issued by RPO Jammu and RPO Srinagar to Jammu and Kashmir residents, who want to meet their relatives across the Line of Control (LOC) for valid reasons, such as wedding ceremonies and said that LOC Permit also need to be issued for religious purposes to address the demand of Kashmiri Pandits.