JAMMU, Mar 12: Intensifying their agitation for passage of Shrines and Temples Protection and Management Bill in current session of State Legislature, Kashmiri Pandits cutting across their party affiliations today staged a demonstration, in front of Press Club here.
The demonstration was held on the call of Pt Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust, which is spearheading the ongoing movement for the enactment of the law for the protection and management of Hindu shrines and temples in Valley most of whom are in a dilapidated condition at present as they have suffered extensive damage during last 22 years turmoil.
The leaders of all KP political, social and religious bodies including Panun Kashmir (PK) participated in the demonstration.
They resolved and pledged to take the ongoing agitation to its logical conclusion. They warned to intensify the agitation in case the Bill was delayed in this session of the Legislature also and urged the Government to fulfill its promise made with the community.
Raising slogans in support of the Bill, the protestors warned to intensify the agitation in case Government further delayed its passage in the ongoing session of Legislature. They expressed grave concern over the condition of the Hindu shrines in Valley whose land has been encroached by anti social elements as well as some Government organizations on their own.
With banners and placards in the hands the demonstrators said that entire community is concerned over the protection on Hindu shrines and temples in Valley which are the symbols of thousands years of civilization, culture, traditions and ethos. Their preservation is must for the posterity as every shrine and temple is in itself worth thousands of institutions, they added.
They said the sentiments of entire community across the globe are attached with these shrines and temples most of whom have been vandalized after the mass exodus of the community 22 years ago. “For their protection and management we wanted a statutory board on the pattern of Auqaf Board for protection of Muslims shrines and Gurdwara Prabandhak Board and Committees for protection of Sikh Gurdawars in the State”, said a member of the Trust.
He said the passage of the Bill will be biggest confidence building measure for the displaced KPs for their return and settle back in Valley with a sense of security and dignity.
The speakers, while addressing the demonstrators regretted that despite assurances given publicly to them by the leaders and legislators from all the parties to support their demand for the passage of the Bill as well as the assurances held by the Government, the Bill has not been passed.
They said Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister, Raman Bhalla, Agriculture Minister, G H Mir, PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, CPI Leader, M Y Tarigami and BJP and NC MLAs had given assurance that the Bill will be passed in this session but till date no headway was made in this regard.
The KP leaders reiterated their appeal to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and Raman Bhalla to get the Bill passed as assured in the ongoing Session of Legislature.
Meanwhile some political organizations including BJP and Kranti Dal have also extended full support to the demand. Kranti Dal general secretary, Preetam Sharma along with his supporters also joined the demonstration and extended full support to the displaced Pandits in their struggle.