Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday visited the Tullamulla Hindu shrine and interacted with devotees participating in the Kheer Bhawani mela, as local Muslims traditionally welcomed the Kashmiri Pandits with milk to their holiest festival.
Mehbooba Mufti also oversaw the arrangements for the devotees at the annual festival, which saw a dismally low attendance this year of around 300.
The festival is dedicated to Hindu goddess Mata Ragnya, who legend says flew from Sri Lanka during Ravana’s reign to Kashmir and established her seat beside a spring in the then Tullamulla village.
Kashmiri Pandits believe that the colour of the spring inside the shrine annually predicts Kashmir’s future.
Local Muslims have been traditionally welcoming their Pandit brothers with milk during the festival at Tullamulla, 29 kilometres from here in Ganderbal district.
This year, too, despite the record low number of devotees, local Muslims served milk to the devotees, an encouraging evidence of the fact that whatever be the security and political situation in the state, the basic fabric of Hindu-Muslim amity remains intact.
Authorities believe that malicious propaganda spread by miscreants through social networking sites was responsible for the minimal number of migrant Pandits attending the festival this year.
Even after the majority of local Pandits migrated out of the valley in early 1990s after violence broke out here, they have been coming in large numbers from different parts of the country to attend the festival and pray at Mata Ragnya’s shrine.