Geneva [Switzerland], March 23 (ANI): Jamil Maqsood, Central Secretary for Foreign Affairs Committee, United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) on Friday lauded India's plan to open Sharda Peeth Corridor in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, the PoK political activist said, "This is a welcome step, but before that Line of Control (LoC) should be opened and travel restrictions should be eased. It will bring religious harmony among the people of PoK and India and will benefit the minority community including Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs."India is planning to open a corridor in the PoK for the Sharda Peeth Pilgrimage. The announcement was made by Home Minister Amit Shah after he virtually inaugurated the Sharda Devi temple at Teetwal in Kupwara district today.
He said that the government would move forward to open a corridor to the Sharda Peeth in PoK on the lines of the Kartarpur corridor.
"Sharda Peeth is located 150 km from Muzzafarabad, 10 miles from LoC. This will be parallel (second one) to Kartarpur Corridor, which will improve the lives of this region - by promoting peace, love, and brotherhood and will play a key role in checking terrorism," said Maqsood to ANI.
Kartarpur Corridor was opened in 2019. The corridor links two important Sikh shrines -- Dera Baba Nanak in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab and Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan -- and allows pilgrims to travel visa-free.
Opening a corridor for pilgrimage will be the first major step to restore contact between the two sides following after Jammu and Kashmir became a Union Territory in August 2019. The move will necessitate engagement with Pakistan and the reopening of LoC at Teetwal in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara.
Cross-LoC trade and bus services have been stopped indefinitely since 2019.
Sharada Peeth is a ruined Hindu temple and ancient centre of learning located in the Neelum Valley of PoK.
It is situated in the valley of Mount Harmukh, believed by Kashmiri Pandits to be the abode of Shiva.
The reconstruction of Maa Sharda's temple in Kupwara is a necessary and important step in the direction of the discovery of Sharda civilisation and the promotion of Sharda-script.
As one of the Maha Shakti Peethas, Hindus believe that it represents the spiritual location of the Goddess Sati's fallen right hand.
Sharada Peeth is one of the three holiest sites of pilgrimage for Kashmiri Pandits, alongside the Martand Sun Temple and the Amarnath Temple. (ANI)