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170 Kashmir temples hit by militancy: Report

170 Kashmir temples hit by militancy: Report

Author: Ishfaq Naseem
Publication: KashmirLive.com
Date: March 23, 2009
URL: http://www.kashmirlive.com/printer/story-437922.html

A report by the Jammu and Kashmir government's Revenue Department has revealed that as many as 170 temples were damaged in the 19 years of militancy in the Valley. However, the Government has begun repairs on 90 temples and incurred an expenditure of Rs 33 lakh.

The report comes soon after the Jammu and Kashmir Government tabled the Hindu Shrine's Management Bill in the Assembly seeking to make an inventory of temple property. The Bill also seeks to constitute a Shrine Board at the state level and management committees in the districts for protection of temples. However, the Bill, introduced by the last Government, has not yet been passed due to the change of Government.

Law Secretary A H Kochak said while the Bill is likely to come up for discussion in the next Assembly session, the Government had the option of passing an ordinance in the interim to protect temples in the Valley.

However, Dr Ajay Chrungoo, chairman of Panun Kashmir, a frontal organisation of Kashmiri Pandits, said the state Government has been sitting on the law to protect temples for long. "The exercise to frame a law has been going on for the last more than six years," he said. A survey conducted by Panun Kashmir has revealed extensive damage to temple properties and encroachments across the Valley, he said, adding that "at many places government departments had even encroached on the temple property".

However, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Masood Samoon said "the temples in Kashmir were not under any threat. They have been guarded by the police, while at many places locals are protecting the structures".

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