In May 2016, a controversy broke out when a government advertisement referred to Hari Parbat as Koh e Maran. It was an issued by Tourism Department of the state government regarding Fort Festival.
The celebrations were a sort of mix of tourism promotion and cultural extravaganza. A joint effort of the Tourism Department headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Ministry of Culture headed by Dr Haseeb Drabu. Dr Drabu holds the charge of far weightier Finance Ministry also.
The invitation to the Fort Festival said Koh e Maran (Hari Parbat). Obviously, the word or name Koh e Maran taking precedence over official name Hari Parbat.
Hari Parbat is a hill, rather hillock, located on one side of Srinagar city. It’s fort looks beautiful in the evenings if you drive at Boulevard Road. Or watch toward Dal lake from one of countless hotels situated along the rim of the lake.
Historically, it has been a place sacred to Kashmir Hindus, most of whom are Kashmiri Pandits ( KPs).
The reason for this sacredness is the presence of the stone representing hri Maa Sharika. Refereed to as Shri Chakra.
The gardens of almonds in sparing present an out of this world view.
Shri Maa Sharika is considered the presiding deity of Srinagar city. Some say the name of the city is derived from Shri Maa.
There are places sacred to Muslims also located on this hill. Â And hence the controversy.
In official records and from times immemorial, the hill has been referred to as Hari Parbat (Hari Parvat).
Several renowned Kashmiri Pandits denounced the move, referring to Hari Parbat as Koh e Maran. Dr Ajay Chrungoo of the Panun Kashmir termed it as a sign of “Islamisation” of names and places in Kashmir Valley.
He said these were repeated attempts at Islamisation and aimed at discouraging Kashmiri Hindus.
The coalition government of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to damage control by making light of the issue.
Incidentally, Priya Sethi of the BJP holds the rank of MOS in Culture ministry.