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‘Time to Heal Wounds of the Past’: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Urges Pandits’ Return to Kashmir

mirwaiz umar farooq Kashmiri Pandit-compressed

In his Friday sermon at the historic Jamia Masjid, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq extended “heartfelt greetings” to the Kashmiri Pandit community gathered for the occasion of Mela Kheer Bhawani, urging their return to Kashmir.

“We welcome our Kashmiri Pandit brethren who have come to Kashmir for Mela Kheer Bhawani. The people of Kashmir have always harboured a deep desire for their return to their ancestral homes,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, addressing the congregation.

“This pulpit stands witness to our continuous efforts and sincere intentions towards facilitating their homecoming,” he said.

Highlighting the “historical ties” between the Mirwaiz family and the Kashmiri Pandit community, he said, “The Mirwaiz family has cherished a special bond with our Kashmiri Pandit brothers and sisters. Their return is important not only for us but for humanity as a whole. It’s time to heal wounds of the past.”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq called upon both Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits to shoulder the responsibility of rebuilding their relationship on foundations of mutual respect and understanding. “It is incumbent upon all of us—Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits alike—to contribute towards rebuilding our shared community. Our language, our culture, they are intertwined.”

He said it was the duty of Muslims to extend a warm embrace to the returning Pandits. “It is our solemn duty as Muslims, being the majority in this land, to wholeheartedly welcome them back.”

The annual Mela Kheer Bhawani festival is celebrated at the Kheer Bhawani temple in Tulmulla, Ganderbal, Kashmir, dedicated to Goddess Ragnya Devi. Kashmiri Pandits, who were displaced from the region during the 1989-90 violence, gather from across India and abroad to seek blessings and offer prayers. The festival, symbolizing faith and unity, includes the tradition of offering kheer (sweet rice pudding) to the goddess.

Muslims from the area also visit the temple, welcoming pilgrims and participating in the cultural festivities.

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