In an extraordinary gesture, the Sikh community in Kashmir on Thursday allowed the officials to pull down a 72-year-old Gurudwara to make way for the construction of a national highway connecting Srinagar with Baramulla.
According to the reports, the existing building of Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, which was established in 1947, is located along the Srinagar-Baramulla road. It will now be demolished and shifted to another place in the city following an understanding between the Gurdwara management and the Development Commissioner, Srinagar.
Historic sacrifice by Sikh Community in Kashmir isn’t something new. Guru Teg Bahadur did it years ago for Pandits. Today Sikh Community agreed to sacrifice 72 year old Gurudwara Damdama Sahib which was established in 1947 for a National Highway in Srinagar. Respect. Salute! pic.twitter.com/b12RNfJL5p
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) December 12, 2019
Gurdwara Damdama Sahib is known for its service towards migrant families who arrived from Pakistan. The Gurudwara organises langars and also undertakes many social service initiatives. It had also sheltered flood and earthquake victims.
As per a report in News 18, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, District Magistrate and Development Commissioner of Srinagar had attempted to resolve the deadlock and intervened in the discussion process. He had reached out to the Sikh community to discuss an amicable solution to the issue.
Reportedly, Choudhary had held a series of meetings over the past week to resolve the deadlock and also examine a range of options to find a solution.
Historic. A Gurudwara Committee agrees to make way for National Highway in #Srinagar. We were in talks. They accepted our offer of alternative land, support. No words big enough to thank the Sangat. ?
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) December 12, 2019
“Finally, today in the presence of the deputy commissioner and the Gurudwara management, the demolition of Gurudwara Damdama Saheb was started. The Gurudwara will function from a makeshift space until a new one is constructed at the agreed location. The state public works department (PWD) has been entrusted with the construction of the gurudwara as per the design provided by the Sikh community,” the official said.
The Government of India started construction of the national highway from Srinagar to Baramulla in 2006. Later, the project was funded under the Prime Minister’s Development Plan, an official added.
The Srinagar-Baramulla stretch is executed by the Border Roads Organisation while the Anantnag-Srinagar part is done by the NHAI.
The road was completed in 2013. However, there were few litigations in the High Court concerning the road project. The landowner whose land was suggested for the relocation of Gurdwara had objected to the proposal and obtained a stay in 2014.
The Gurudwara was one of four bottlenecks in the road project, most parts of which were completed in 2013. Apart from the Gurudwara, the three other bottlenecks were a power line, a petrol pump, and water supply lines.
The official said the work on the demolition of the petrol pump and shifting of power lines and water supply lines has also started. The work is likely to be completed in the next 10 days, he said.