Kashmiri couple buy 97-yr-old US church to set up Kashmir cultural centre
Srinagar, July 7 (IANS) A Kashmiri couple is in the process of buying a 97-year-old vacant church in America and would finally convert it into a museum and library of art, culture and history of Kashmir.
Reports here said Dr Khurshid Guru, a robotic surgeon and his wife, Dr Lubna Guru are buying the church at 650 Park Place in Niagara Falls.
“The couple will convert the place into museum of Kashmir art, culture and history which will have over 1,500 paintings, books and artifacts of Kashmir collected over the years by the couple”, sources close to the family said.
Dr Khurshid Guru, belongs to Sopore town in Baramulla district of Kashmir, and he is the son of noted Kashmiri cardio-thoracic surgeon, late Dr Abdul Ahad Guru.
Dr Abdul Ahad Guru died in mysterious circumstances in Srinagar city on April 1, 1993. He was believed to be close to the separatist Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Sources said the couple is also buying two additional houses to provide residential space to visiting Kashmiri artists, scholars and contributors.
Sources also said the collection being displayed would be worth over USD 2 million.
“It will be potentially the biggest collection of books on the region outside Kashmir besides what is available at the Library of Congress in the US or in the British museum”, family sources said.
The project cost includes USD 200,000 for acquisition of property, USD 1.25 million for construction and improvement, USD 250,000 for furniture and equipment and USD 300,000 for other costs.
Guru had applied through LSNY Holdings LLC for a 10-year property tax break and sales tax exemption from Niagara County Industrial Development Agency which formally accepted the application on June 30 and set up a public hearing on July 29.