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Gollum

Centre orders survey for destroyed temples in Jammu and Kashmir

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Union minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy said here on Monday that the central government had ordered surveys to be conducted of 50,000 temples that had been closed, 90% of which were destroyed. He said similar surveys were also being conducted of schools that had been closed.

Reddy was addressing the media, when he spoke about some of the important decisions taken by the central government after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Reddy said the administrations of the two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh would come into being on October 31, which also happened to be the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. “Two Lieutenant Governors will be appointed on that day,” he said.

He added that the union government was also undertaking many programmes for the welfare of the state. One such programme would be to provide five government jobs to meritorious youth in each village of the erstwhile state. “We will also recruit for the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the CRPF and BSF,” he said.

 

Reddy said though many other developmental works are in the offing tourism will be the focus area. “We will promote tourism the most. Many meetings have been held on this and more are to come,” he said.

He credited the central government for holding gram panchayat elections in the northernmost region. “The J&K secretariat and assembly used to have two flags, we will change this in the coming days,” he said.

“Many schools in the valley have not been functioning for many years. We have instituted a committee and asked the Governor to conduct a survey and reopen these schools. Almost 50,000 temples have been closed, 90% of these have been destroyed, in some the idols have been destroyed, we have ordered surveys to be conducted for these as well,” he said, adding that many cinema halls had also been shut for 20 years in the region and the government was looking at reopening these as well.

Reddy said so far the security forces had seized around 37,000 Pakistan and China-made AK 47s and light machine guns and 18,000 revolvers. “A women’s property right Act will also be introduced in J&K soon,” he added.

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Unsure of the number, maybe the ones in houses of KPs have been added. 

This news is from JK govt in 2012

208 temples damaged in Kashmir in last two decades: Kashmir govt

 

Time to set right the historic wrongs. From Sikandar Butshikan to modern day pro-Pak terrorists, minority places of worship in the valley have faced the brunt of attacks even as non-Hindu places of worship in rest of India grew manifold. 

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Another surprising thing is that not a single cinema hall has operated in Kashmir valley since 1989 because it was considered un-Islamic by the terrorist groups. Here's the article:

 

Why Kashmir needs its cinema halls back?

 

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In the 1980s, 15 cinema halls functioned in the entire Valley, of which nine functioned in Srinagar, like Broadway, Regal, Neelam and Palladium. The entire gamut of these cinema halls faced sudden closure post-the summer of 1989, under the threat of armed insurgency after a militant outfit, named ‘Allah Tiger’, led by its chief Air Marshall Noor Khan, announced a ban on cinemas and bars in the Valley. 

Considering both un-Islamic, Khan took it on himself to rid Kashmir of them. 

Young militants of the now–defunct Allah Tigers would roam around Srinagar, ordering hotels to stop serving drinks and forcing liquor shops to shut down. On August 18, 1989, Allah Tigers issued a handout to a local daily, asking cinema owners and liquor shop owners to shut down their businesses.  Although initially, people took it lightly, the scheme of things took such a sinister turn that all cinema halls were shut down by December 31, 1989. 

Of all the cinema halls in Srinagar, Palladium was known for screening English flicks. However, in 1993, three years after it faced closure alongside other cinema halls, the popular destination was burnt down and destroyed completely. Some of them as of today have been converted into hospitals or shopping malls, while some are just locked down as the buildings are damaged beyond repair to be used for any other purpose. 

Attempts of revival 

In 1999, three cinema halls — Regal, Neelam and Broadway — were reopened.  But Regal was attacked by terrorists with grenades, killing one cine-goer and injuring 12 others, while the Sunny Deol and Mahima Chaudhary starrer Pyar Koi Khel Nahi was being screened there. September 2005 saw Neelam — then the only functional movie theatre in Srinagar — hosting a face-off between security forces and suicide attackers, in which one militant was killed. Around 70 cine goers were inside the theatre at that point of time, watching the Aamir Khan-starrer Mangal PandeyAlthough the previous Mehbooba Mufti-led government was in favour of reopening cinemas, Hurriyat opposed the move

 

Can't believe this nonsense happened in India :facepalm:

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The Valley of Abandoned Gods

The Junior Union Home Minister Kishan Reddy said the Government would restore and reopen thousands of vandalised temples in Jammu and Kashmir. Will there be a revival of the Hindu heritage in the Valley soon?

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Kashmir1.jpgAn idol of Lord Ganesha, believed to be from the 7th Century CE, lies neglected under a chinar tree at Vijeshwar Temple in Bijbehara, south Kashmir.

IN 2014, an exiled Kashmiri Pandit couple, now settled in the US, visited their homeland. Their driver-cum-guide took them for shopping near the Dal Lake. Inside a shop, as the wife was being shown shawls and papier-mâché items, the man spotted a dusty glass cupboard in a corner. As he looked inside, he was surprised to see a few idols of Hindu gods that looked quite old. Upon enquiry, he was told that these were removed by ‘miscreants’ from various temples. As he took some of the idols in his hands, the man realised that these had been cleanly severed from their foundations.

The Valley of Abandoned Gods

An old Hindu temple along the banks of the river Jhelum in Kashmir Valley. This temple used to be thronged with Kashmiri Pandits before their exodus in 1990.

 

“I was so overcome by emotion that I forgot shopping and told the dealer that I wanted to buy these,” says the man who does not wish to be named. Since the dealer quoted an exorbitant price, the man says he could only buy five such relics.

In 1990, the Hindu minority had to leave Kashmir in a matter of months as Islamist extremists began targeting them. In most cases, the fleeing families could take very little with them. There were instances when families were prevented from taking their belongings with them. The Pandit families begged truck and taxi drivers to take them across the Jawahar tunnel to Jammu; they left in a hurry in darkness, with tears in their eyes, their hands folded in reverence to the gods they were leaving behind.
In their absence, there was no one left to recite the hymns of Adi Shankara. The aartis, the leelas, the calls to Lord Shiva and his consort Uma, went silent. In torn tents in refugee camps, even the sheer act of living became a defiance.

The Valley of Abandoned GodsAn eerie calm descends over Vichar Nag, once the seat of thought where Brahmins used to gather every year to compare and debate their calculations and decide on the Panchang (Hindu Calendar) for the year ahead. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya too visited this temple.

 

As per government figures, out of 438 temples in the Valley, 208 have been damaged. But according to the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a body of a handful of Pandits who chose to stay back, the number of temples in Kashmir Valley is over 1,000, of which more than 500 have been damaged while vast tracts of land belonging to temple trusts have been encroached upon.

The Valley of Abandoned Gods

In the absence of Government intervention, many ancient temples have just disappeared. In many cases, idols and manuscripts have been damaged or smuggled out. A tenth-century idol of Goddess Durga stolen from a temple in south Kashmir was smuggled to the US and found its way to a museum in

Germany. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which had no idea about its existence, was alerted by a Kashmiri Pandit living in New York. After a protracted effort, the idol was finally returned to India by the German government in 2015.

The Valley of Abandoned Gods

The Sharika Devi Temple on Hari Parbat in Srinagar is being decked with confetti by CRPF personnel. Dedicated to Goddess Jagadamba, Sharika Bhagwati, an incarnation of Goddess Durga,  is regarded as the presiding deity of Srinagar. Hari Parbat is considered one of the holiest places in Kashmir. It is believed that those who worship at Hari Parbat-Chakreshvar are deemed to have worshipped all the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon

 

A group of Pandits performing the ancient Gangbal pilgrimage in 2016 found a Shivling thrown into the lake there. They performed some rituals after taking it out, but later chose to put it back in the water. “Had we put it in its original place, someone would have come in our absence and broken it this time,” says Rashneek Kher, who was part of that group.

Kher says he is pained to visit the ancient Naranag complex every year. “A big board outside it says that it is under the ASI, but ever year we find more Shivlings broken inside,” he says.

Kashmir6.jpg

The Safa Kadal bridge over the river Jhelum, with Ram Mandir in the backdrop. The Ram Mandir was vandalised in 1990 and the interiors of the temple now lie in ruins

 

Consider the case of the ancient Vichar Nag temple near the Anchar Lake on the outskirts of Srinagar. It has two old Shiva temples and a main spring. Today, a visitor will only find garbage and excreta in the temple complex. The spring is long choked with muck, and the slimy green water is malodorous.

In south Kashmir, the Vijeshwar temple in Bijbehara is believed to have been destroyed along with hundreds of other temples by the 14th-century iconoclast, Sikandar Butshikan. Later, the Pandits built a new complex over the ruins of the old temple. It has a Ganesha idol belonging to the 7th century CE. In his 2014 work, the scholar John Siudmak said it had gone missing. But it was later found to be in a corner of the complex. Obviously, without any protection, there is no guarantee that it will remain safe in future.

The Valley of Abandoned GodsThe face of Goddess Saraswati on the wall of Shiv Mandir Naidyar Rainawari in Srinagar has peeled and broken up since 1990. This was one of the most revered temples of the Pandits who used to live in the bylanes of Rainawari, the  old city of Srinagar. According to a survey conducted by the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, about 52 temples have ‘vanished’ since the Kashmiri Pandits fled the Valley in 1990

 

In Srinagar, one of the temples in Abiguzar was destroyed in the floods of 2014. The few Pandit families who live nearby tried their best to renovate it. But due to lack of funds, there has not been much progress.

Recently, the Junior Union Home Minister G Kishan Reddy said the Government would restore and reopen 50,000 vandalised temples in Jammu and Kashmir. The number is highly exaggerated, of course, and serves as a reminder that the Government is not serious about restoring Kashmir’s glorious Hindu past at all. Even when the BJP had an alliance with the PDP in the state, a Government tourism ad did not show even a glimpse of the Valley’s Hindu heritage.

The Valley of Abandoned GodsThe Samadhis of past gurus at the Shiv Mandir in Abiguzar, in the heart of Srinagar

 

“The temples have been ignored just like the Pandits who lived here in Kashmir,” says a man who has come to pray at a temple in Srinagar. At times, he says, the temple doors are opened for a festival and then is ignored for months. “A sin is committed every day,” says the caretaker Pandit who looks after one such forgotten temple in Srinagar.

In the past, the BJP Government has made several promises to the Pandits that it will ensure their return to their homeland. Nothing has happened on the ground, though. But the least the Government can do is restore the dignity of their gods. And it has to be done now, before it is too late.

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Edited by Gollum

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