Misuse of Temples land in Kashmir

This is in reference to the J&K Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Management of Temples and Shrines and a communiqué received from the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir with regard to the damage caused to 94 temples in Kashmir during past 30 years of militancy, and misuse of temples land.
As per the PHQ communiqué KZ/CR/2020/359/4382-93 dated 5-3-2020, a total 94 temples were destroyed/ burnt in Kashmir during militancy. Nine temples were allegedly destroyed in fire incidents, five due to floods, seven destroyed by militants and 73 damaged by other means as per Govt record. It has been observed that lands of these temples has either been grabbed by the people from different communities, in some premises a few Govt offices have been housed, while the condition of some of the temples was in bad shape.
It is unfortunate to observe that despite Govt claims of bringing legislation and creation of Act, many temples and Hindu shrines in Kashmir are still lying abandoned or in pitiable condition. At some of these structures, security forces pickets have been raised. There is no routine worship/ prayers at many temples because no priests have been engaged there. A very few temples in Kashmir are being looked after by the local management committees. Nobody is perhaps bothered about these shrines/ temples and allied properties.
It is, therefore, requested to the LG Adminstration to conduct physical audit of all these temples lands and get them vacated from the clutches of land grabbers. No office should be allowed to function from temple lands, and if any offices are there, like PDD office at Mohura in Baramulla, rent should be used for the development of said temple/ shrine. Proper record of all the temple lands be maintained after demarcation. There should be separate department or Board to look after and maintain these properties. The number of such temples/ shrines could be much higher as compared to official figure and many have been damaged in Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Ramban area as well. The LG Govt must initiate exercise to conduct physical audit of all such temples and their lands in Kashmir and appoint a credible controlling authority.
Gautam Anand,
19-Sector G,
Sainik Colony, Jammu.