71 days on, 100 Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from Nepal stranded at Katra

Sudhir Kumar. Dated: 5/18/2020 11:22:57 PM

JAMMU, May 18: In a sudden move, around hundred of Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from Nepal who could not return to their homes came out before media at Katra. They are stranded at Katra for the last 71 days due to the ongoing countrywide lockdown.
Though the Ramesh Kumar, CEO of the shrine board, told media on March 31, 2020 , "We have no 'yatri' stranded anywhere either at the shrine or in Katra town", yet all of the sudden from where these stranded Mata Vaishno Devi Pilgrims come out in front of the media. They alleged that Katra Administration and Mata Vainsho Devi Shrine Board officials are telling lie to the media. We are stranded here at Katra for the last 71 days. We have made repeated request to the J&K govt to send us back to the Nepal, but no one is listening to us.
Talking to media Nepali stranded Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrim told that money is running out, we have kept Katra by the SMVDSB for the last 71 days.
They told that we couldn’t return to Nepal and is now worried about their ageing mother and a young child. “We are extremely worried about our family back at home, We have made appeal to the J&K government to do something for us. The SMVDSB administration was also requested to send us to Bihar though train which is scheduled to leave from Katra tomorrow. But no one is listening to us.
When have also contacting the J&K govt officers posted at Katra, but we were only provided mobile number of another officers. This process is going on and no one is showing interest to send us back to Nepal, they told.
They also informed that administration is not providing us food and medicines. Our children and family members at Nepal are worried about our well being, they told.
They alleged that administration officials are demanding 1.5 Lakh from us to send us back to Nepal. But we are requesting them to send us to Bihar through train which is schedule to left on tomorrow so that from Bihar we can go to our country.
It is pertinent to mention that Jammu and Kashmir government on March 18 suspended Vaishno Devi Yatra in the wake of Coronavirus threat. It has also told that the no Mata Vaishno Devi Pilgrim is stranded in Katra.
Vaishno Devi is one of the most important shrines in the country. Pilgrims arrive by thousands to Jammu and Katra daily.
In the past pilgrimage has been temporarily suspended many times due to bad weather but this is for the first time that it has been halted for days.
Reports said that many people who could not go back home because of the cancellation of trains are stranded because of the cancellation of train services. We have sheltered them at safe places in fully sanitized environment. We are providing them food and other requirements. There are around hundred Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims among these stranded people. They are safe and healthy".



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