Kashmir social groups battle over Hindu Shrine Bill

The Kashmir Sanatan Dharam Partap Sabha and other social organisations in a joint statement have criticised Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust for allegedly misleading people and legislators about the Kashmiri Hindu Shrine Bill introduced in the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly.

The joint statement said while they supported the government’s efforts to restore temples belonging to the Kashmiri Pandit community and managed by them, the temples managed by other autonomous religious institutions could not be brought within the purview of the bill.

Dharmarth Trust secretary Shashi Khajuria alleged that bringing temples not managed by Kashmiri Pandits within the purview of the Bill would amount to usurping the properties of these shrines, adding that even after the Pandits had migrated from the Valley, non-Pandit organisations had continued to manage these temples and performed religious ceremonies, even at the height of militancy.

“There is a strong perception among the Hindus in Jammu division that the demand for inclusion of religious places belonging to and managed by non-Kashmiri Hindus is part of the conspiracy to destroy the footprints of Dogra Hindus and their heritage in the Valley,” he said.

“The Dharmarth Trust established by the-then Dogra ruler has built many temples across the state, and is managing the temple properties, including that of the Shankaracharya Temple. The Pandits have no historic right over the properties of the Dharmarth Trust,” he claimed.

He alleged, “The Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust has been asking that the government bring the Act to take over Hindu temples in the Valley. Chief minister Omar Abdullah had recently said some people have written to the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson that if this Act is enforced, there will be agitation on the lines of the Amarnath land row.”

Source: Hindustan Times