In addition to being a grand religious event, the Yatra, in which over 3.5 lakh people took part, last year—as per the official figures—offers opportunities for the underprivileged segments of Kashmiri society to make a living. As a result, it is an event that they eagerly anticipate all year long and many of their needs and wants depend on the success and increased footfall of the Yatris. Additionally, it is a time when the people of Kashmir unite to greet and welcome the visitors with open arms and hearts. Such a gathering lowers boundaries and fosters social peace by bringing individuals from various corners of the country together. The people of J&K, particularly those in Kashmir, are proud of it.
But the government and the people of Kashmir must work in sync if the Yatra is to go off without a hitch. While the administration has already begun making the necessary arrangements, it is still important to make sure that the Yatris have access to the greatest and most efficient amenities. This covers hassle-free transportation, access to healthcare, and—most importantly—efficient communication channels. Even though the facilities were adequate last year, people expect them to be so this year as well, especially in light of the challenging terrain that the Yatra travels through, which brings us to the point of doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of the guests, which is of utmost importance.
The people of Kashmir have historically shown inclusivity, and there have been numerous instances in which the locals have put their own lives at risk to save the lives of visitors. We don’t need sermons or certifications on religious harmony and unity—values that the people of Kashmir have always cherished and respected—and we thrash those who question these core beliefs. Let’s all get together and work to make the 62-day Yatra a success as it begins in July. Make the visitors’ stay even safer and more memorable by demonstrating our shared responsibility. The genuine spirit of Kashmir is to welcome the Yatris on their holy pilgrimage: Welcome them with an open heart.
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