More than 200 Kashmiri Pandits took out a protest march in Anantnag Sunday demanding that a passage on the lines of the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikhs be opened to facilitate devotees to visit the Sharda Devi temple in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The Kashmiri Pandits held placards and raised slogans in support of reopening the passage to PoK.
Sharda Peeth is an abandoned temple in Sharda village along the Neelam river across LoC. It was a major centre of learning and is regarded as one of the 18 highly-revered temples in South Asia.
The protesters, under the banner of All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC), demanded that the Sharda Peeth corridor between Neelam Valley in PoK and Teetwal in north Kashmir be reopened on the lines of the Kartarpur Corridor.
India and Pakistan last week laid the foundation stones of the Kartapur corridor on their respective sides. The construction of the corridor is expected to be complete in five months, facilitating the visit of Indian Sikh pilgrims to the 16th-century gurdwara in Kartarpur in Pakistan.
Sunny Raina, president of Vessu Transit KP Colony, pressed for an early opening of a corridor to Sharda Peeth.
Ranjan Jyotshi, president of Mattan KP Colony, said, “We have been waiting anxiously from 70 years for its reopening. It is the matter of faith”.
“The pandits of Kashmir have an immense belief that whatever bloodshed or mayhem is in Kashmir nowadays is due to the neglect of their presiding deity Sharda Mata,” he added.
The APMCC has been calling for reopening of passage for 10 years and they had twice sat on fasts in support of their demand.