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GKPD launches campaign to protect Kashmiri Pandit temples

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New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) has reiterated its commitment to lead the unified community campaign to protect the Kashmiri Pandit temples and shrines and support the passage of a legislative bill led by Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust.

“After 31 years of determined depredation by forces vested in the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits coupled with State neglect and apathy, the condition of our temples is pitiable indeed’, stated Surinder Kaul, Co-Founder GKPD.

Utpal Kaul, GKPD International Coordinator India continued, ‘The complete burning down of the Arya Samaj mandir in Motiyar Rainawari which had been occupied illegally is the most recent sordid story to emerge from the Valley. We urge Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ji to institute a time bound enquiry to identify the perpetrators, provide exemplary justice and return the property back to the Trust who are its rightful owners. GKPD has been coordinating with the Arya Samaj Motiyar Trust, the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Jammu & Kashmir from inception and also with the apex body Arya Saravdeshik Sabha.’

B.L. Jalali, Rainawari Kashmiri Pandits Action Committee stated, ‘The community has repeatedly shared the onslaught of transgressions on our temples but the authorities have refused to act. A field survey shows that desecration, destruction, vandalizing, looting, encroachment is the norm of the land. It is shocking that even as the community celebrates the 400th anniversary of Mata Shree Roopbhawani, the temple is being misused for immoral purposes.

Jalali continued, ‘The age old, Shiva linga of Bodh Mandir Kraliyar Rainawari was uprooted, desecrated and thrown in the river. The local Police has recovered the moorty (idol) but has refused to return it back to the community. Similar stories are to be found in the ten to fifteen temples in Rainawari.’

‘Wholesale illegal sale of temple lands has made a mockery of the religious rights of the Kashmiri Pandits who have been ethnically cleansed from the valley,’ stated R.L. Bhat of PNB Memorial Trust, ‘We urge the Lieutenant Governor to pass a much delayed ordnance for the governance of the temples and shrines which are now facing near extinction. This is cultural genocide happening in front of us”.

–IANS

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