Srinagar, Jun 14 (PTI) It is time to reconcile and rebuild the broken bonds, Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Friday as he appealed to the Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homeland.

In his address at the Friday congregation at the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area here, he felicitated the Kashmiri Pandit community on the occasion of Mela Kheer Bhawani.

Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits paid obeisance at the Mata Kheer Bhawani temple at Tulmulla in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Friday.

Mela Kheer Bhawani -- an annual event at the Kheer Bhawani temple dedicated to Rangya Devi -- is also celebrated in other shrines and temples in Jammu and Kashmir to mark 'Zyeth Atham' or 'Jyeshtha Ashtami'.

A large number of Kashmiri Pandits left their homes and fled the valley in 1990 in the wake of the eruption of militancy in the region.

The Mirwaiz said the community should return to their homeland which awaits them.

"Today is Mela Kheer Bhawani and I would like to felicitate our Kashmiri Pandit community on this occasion. I would also once again ask them to return to their homeland which awaits them and live here as they did in the past in our common and shared heritage. It is time to reconcile and rebuild the broken bonds. We owe it to our next generation," he said.

Referring to the incident of two people allegedly consuming liquor during a shikara ride in the Dal Lake here, the Hurriyat chairman said the "outrageous incident has shocked us all".

Police have registered a case into the incident and two people have been arrested.

"Thankfully some action has been taken against it by the authorities. But, the onus of preventing such incidents lies equally on us individually and as a society. Being a tourist place, all kinds of visitors will come here.

"It is for us to ensure that the ethos of Kashmir based on the values and principles of Islam stays intact. We have to be aware of it all the time and consciously work towards preserving it, especially those people who are directly or indirectly associated with tourism," the Mirwaiz said.

He expressed hope that they will continue to play an active role in "preserving our moral and religious character".

Hurriyat Conference chairman demanded an investigation into the death of a youth allegedly while in police custody earlier this month in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The incident should be investigated and the accused punished, he said.

The Mirwaiz also said dismissal of government employees from the service adds to "distress among people".

"Such measures only add to the mistrust and only deepen the chasm," he added.

2024-06-14T12:05:19Z dg43tfdfdgfd