India is pitching a Hindu pilgrimage to a snowy cave shrine in disputed, Muslim-majority Kashmir as evidence of peace in a state marred by decades of armed conflict amid popular resistance to Indian rule.
The annual yatra, or spiritual journey, to the Amarnath shrine, the hallowed mountain cave where devotees revere an icy stalagmite as an image of Lord Shiva, presents an opportunity for the state of Jammu and Kashmir to show something beyond the frequent skirmishes between armed separatists and Indian soldiers that have cost tens of thousands of lives.
“We’re always in the news for the wrong reasons,” said Khalid Jahangir, deputy commissioner of Anantnag, the district in Kashmir where the yatra takes place.
“There are some minuses, also some pluses,” Jahangir said, adding that “whatever little (pluses) there are must also be projected,” pointing to a photograph of four local men carrying a heavyset pilgrim in a palanquin as an example of communal harmony.
The pilgrims, many…
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