NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In Jammu & Kashmir 170 Hindu temples vandalised in 20 years, admits Govt , India

By Mohit Kandhari | Jammu,India 

At a time when the Babri mosque demolition case is revisiting the Indian political sphere, the Jammu & Kashmir Government has on record admitted that 170 temples were damaged in militancy-related violence in the Valley over the last 20 years. 

Compared to the 1990s, however, the situation has normalised to a large extent and many temples have been thrown open to visitors and Kashmiri Pandits for carrying out daily rituals. But the majority of emigrant Pandits is still not satisfied with the pace of renovation and wants the State Government to allocate more funds and expedite the ongoing works. Several prominent Kashmiri Pandits feel that the State Government organs have failed to take proper care of the Valley’s temples, which has left many heritage buildings and religious structures in a state of ruin. 

State Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla himself admitted in the Assembly that of the 170 damaged temples, the Government had renovated only 90 to date. In reply to a question by BJP legislator Jugal Kishore Bhalla, the Minister said there were 430 temples before the Valley fell into the grip of militancy. 

While 266 temples are still intact, 170 were damaged and 90 of these have been renovated at a cost of Rs 33 lakh. At least 17 temples in sensitive areas have been provided with a security cover, he added. 

The Minister’s claims were challenged by All Parties’ Migrant Coordination Committee chairman Vinod Pandit, who demanded a White Paper on the renovation of temples in Kashmir. “I demand a White Paper enlisting details of renovation work carried out in each temple space listed as renovated by the State Government,” he said. More than 550 temples and religious springs had been vandalised, destroyed or encroached upon and even the official fora were turning a deaf ear to the problem, he claimed. 

Dr Agnishekhar, a leading force behind the Panun Kashmir movement, told The Pioneer, “In the last 20 years, the State Government has failed to renovate religious places. We feel the Government is still underestimating the extent of damage caused to the places of worship.” He also raised serious concerns over the manner in which even cremation grounds were selectively encroached upon. In addition, the State has officially acquired the land belonging to Kashmiri Pandits in various districts. The Revenue Minister also admitted that 113 kanals of land had been encroached upon in Shopian and that steps were being taken to drive away the squatters. As per official records, 10 kanals have been acquired by police in Kupwara, six kanals at Handwara (Horticulture department), nine kanals for construction of bus stand at Verinag in Anantnag, four kanals for parking space and 16 kanals for a women’s college in Baramulla, among others.

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