Sri Sri receives another visitor from Kashmir

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(Last Updated On: September 2, 2016)

After meeting Muzaffar Wani, father of the slain militant Burhan Wani at his Art of Living ashram in Bengaluru, Sri Sri Ravishankar created further ripples by tweeting about his meeting with Dr Ghulam Rasool Hami, head of the Jammu and Kashmir based Karwan-I-Islami ostensibly on the “Kashmir issue”.

Mr Hami’s organisation, founded in 2004, describes itself as one dedicated to the ideals of “universal brotherhood, peace and unity among all people.”

The Art of Living guru’s outreach to both Mr Wani and Mr Hami is being seen as an attempt at some Track II intervention in the situation in Kashmir but is being denied by the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation. “It is not a government initiative at all, it is an Art of Living initiave,” said Gautam Vig, director of AOL.

He added that “so far, we (the AOL) have not been approached by any government agency.”

 Mr Vig however did elaborate on the seer’s interest in the region as being of a long standing duration. “Gurudev was involved in the peace process in Kashmir in 2008, when there was an issue. Back then, he met with all the leaders. When there was a problem in 2001, 2005, 2008, Gurudev was personally involved and he met with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He also held meetings with Hurriyat leaders and the Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mohammed Bashiruddin. Gurudev had several dialogues with Kashmiri Pandit community as well. After the earthquake, for 6 years between October 2005 and 2012, The Art of Living ran a hostel for poor boys and girls in Srinagar for more than 150 children. During the same time we got 100 Kashmiri boys to our International Centre in Bengaluru and provided them with food, shelter, and education. Today they are all well settled,” said Mr Vig in response to a question.

“About 5000 youth have been trained under the Youth Leadership Training Program in Jammu and Kashmir. This is a Program that empowers youth to bring about a transformation in their society through peaceful means. Since 2006, The Art of Living conducted about 29 Prison Programs in Jammu and Kashmir and 1427 inmates have been taught these programs in Jammu and Khatua Jail,” he added.

“Mr. Wani was invited to visit the ashram. He came on Thursday (25th August) and left on Saturday (27th August). The focus of his visit was medical assistance and he had a couple of treatments while he was here. Sri Sri and Mr Wani discussed about the current situation, about the suffering and how peace and normalcy can be restored in the Valley. It was purely on a personal and humanitarian angle,” he said.

Union Home minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to lead an all party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir during the weekend even as tensions continue unabated in the state.

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