Minister urges opposition to let trains carrying Vaishno Devi pilgrims pass during Navratri


Union minister Jitendra Singh has appealed to the opposition including the Congress party to allow trains to pass through to Katra in Jammu to facilitate devotees’ visiting the holy Vaishno Devi shrine during the ongoing Navratri festival.

Railway tracks in Punjab have been blocked by farmer groups supported by political parties like the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal in protest against three agriculture laws passed by the Parliament.

Singh underlined that pilgrimage is a religious and sentimental issue for the devotees and all parties should respect it.

He further said that the railway ministry on October 15 announced special trains to Katra in view of anticipated rush to the holy Hindu shrine on the occasion of Navratri festival, but it had to be cancelled at the last minute due to farmers’ protest in Congress-ruled Punjab.

“Protest is their democratic right but keeping in mind religious sentiments of the devotees, it should be suspended till the festival gets over,” he added.

He also said that the administration has made all possible arrangements to facilitate the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills.

A special prayer ‘Shat Chandi Maha Yagya’ marked the commencement of Navratri festival at the famous shrine in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday and around 7,000 devotees reached Katra to pay their obeisance at the shrine.

CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Ramesh Kumar said the shrine has been decorated with flowers and fruits on the occasion of first Navratri and renowned ‘bhajan’ singers will take part in morning and evening ‘Atta arti’. Mess has been functional for devotees who are visiting the shrine.

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