Soundly rejecting Pakistan’s efforts to create a false narrative around the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmiris celebrated the occasion by organising “Bangus Awaam Mela” in Handwara district with great fanfare. The two-day annual festival witnessed the participation of hundreds of Gujjars, Bakarwals and other Kashmiri sightseers from Kupwara, Tangdhar and Handwara.
The mela commenced on 3 August and the grand finale was held on 4 August. Village games such as horse racing, sheep shepherding challenge, tugs of war and wood chopping competitions were organised on the first day in which the local Gujjar and Bakarwal community, from various Bhaiks who inhabit the beautiful meadows during the summer months, actively participated.
A veterinary and medical camp was also organised by the local Rashtriya Rifles unit as per the request of senior community members. The doctors advised, treated and gave free medicines to 679 patients including 49 children. The veterinary camp provided medical aid to 135 livestock in addition to surgical assistance to the wounded.
On the festival’s second day, the audience enjoyed folk songs by the Gujjar community, patriotic songs by local children, dances and a karate display by Handwara Kudo Association in addition to the village games finals. The event culminated with rousing participation in National Anthem recitation and a vote of thanks by the community elders to the Army for its support.