Srinagar, May 14: The state government on Monday attached Deputy Commissioner Relief Organisation Jammu, KK Sidha, and ordered an enquiry against him for issuing a misleading order concerning Mela Kheer Bawani.
The order, which was issued on May 10, read that the aspiring pilgrims visiting the valley for Kheer Bawani darshan shall undergo proper registration on the pattern of Amarnath yatra.
The notice evoked criticism from the Pandit community, who questioned the validity of the registration notice for the state subjects.
While expressing regret over the administrative lapse, Minister for Relief Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Javaid Mustafa Mir, said the DC Relief neither consulted nor informed him about the move.
“Mr Sidha has been relieved now and we have written to the GAD for his attachment. There is a proper government process, which he didn’t follow. So, we constituted a team of officers including under-secretary relief and rehabilitation and other officers to investigate it,” he said.
Asked whether he knew about the notice, Mir said he was informed about the notice after entering the Civil Secretariat on Monday.
“The order was issued in Jammu after offices shifted to Srinagar. As a minister I take full responsibility of the lapse. But it is actually the mistake of the officer who didn’t inform my private section, secretariat officials or me in person,” he said.
“At my level as the minister, it is unacceptable. Although notice has been issued by my officer, I sincerely regret and am equally concerned for Kashmir Pandit community,” Mir added.
The Relief and Rehabilitation Minister said the committee will probe the intentions of the officer behind issuing the controversial notice.
“It is indeed a huge mistake and only probe by the selected committee will reveal the officers intentions. I can’t say that he did it deliberately as of now, as he too belongs to the same community, but the notice has definitely sent a bad signal to outside state,” he said.
Mir said that migrant Pandits were the sons of the soil, who can come and practice their religion without seeking any permission.
“Kheer Bhawani mela is being celebrated every year by our Pandits. They don’t need to register, nor do they need to be scrutinized. If we question them on their entry or exit, then our brotherhood claims are a lie,” he said.
Mir said that the state government has already kept extra security arrangement in place for the pilgrims visiting the valley for the annual mela.
“As far as security measures are concerned, we do it time and again. For religious activities, utmost security measures are being adopted and the state government does everything to facilitate pilgrims,” he said.