Srinagar, Oct 13 (IANS) Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Saturday it was his childhood desire to pray at the Hazratbal shrine, but it came about so that his wish was fulfilled only after taking over as the country's home minister.
Talking to reporters outside the Hazratbal shrine where he went with Kashmir's Minister of Home Nasir Aslam Wani and union Home Secretary R.K. Singh, Shinde said: "As a child it was my desire to come and pray at the Hazratbal shrine. I have been coming to Kashmir since 1980, but God so ordained that I should visit the shrine only after taking over the country's home minister."
Shinde said this was his first visit to the Valley after taking over the home minister and he came to Hazratbal shrine to pray for peace and prosperity in the country.
"The management of the shrine has told me that the holy relic of the Prophet of Islam was brought here from Bijapur which is close to my Sholapur constituency," he said.
To a question about the security to sarpanches and panches, being targeted by separatist guerrillas, Shinde said: "At today's (Saturday) meeting, the chief minister (Omar Abdullah) took the lead in discussing the security to them. They will be provided security and the state government is taking necessary steps in this direction."
"The sarpanches and panches have no need to fear in this regard."
The management of the shrine presented Kashmiri shawls to Shinde, Wani and Singh.