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Kashmiri Hindus demand the restoration of over 200 destroyed temples that were attacked by Islamists in the 1990s

"This has been our long-standing demand to successive governments including the present one to restore the centres of our faith in the valley. We've demanded a bill for the protection and preservation of our religious sites, shrines and temples so that there's a legal recognition to face this issue", a member of the community said.

Kashmiri Hindus residing in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir have requested the restoration of over 200 Hindu temples that were destroyed by Islamic terrorists during the targeted violence against the community which broke out in the 1990s. The temples vandalised during the continued violence in the valley, still remain non-functional, existing in a dire, damaged state.

As per a Times Now report, victims of the Islamist violence and exodus in the Kashmir valley have reiterated their demand for restoration and reconstruction of Hindu temples that were vandalised and desecrated in the 1990s. Government figures show as reported by the Omar Abdullah government in 2012 in the state assembly that over 438 temples in the valley had been damaged over the years. 57 temples were vandalised in Srinagar alone, 56 faced damage in the Anantnag district as well. During the attacks, many of the temples were burnt, with deities desecrated and idols broken.

Activists from the Kashmiri Pandit community have now demanded the full restoration of these temples to their original state from the ruling dispensation after successive governments over the years have failed to do so. Talking with Times Now, a Kashmiri Pandit resident said, “This has been our long-standing demand to successive governments including the present one to restore the centres of our faith in the valley. We’ve demanded a bill for the protection and preservation of our religious sites, shrines and temples so that there’s a legal recognition to face this issue.”

The large-scale vandalisation of Hindu temples during the genocide

While the destruction of Hindu temples remains a contested issue in our history writing, often ignored is the dark chapter of vandalisation and plundering of temples in the Kashmir valley as late as the 1990s. The religious isolation followed by targeting of the Hindus in Kashmir valley by Islamic terrorists also included attacks on their temples and age-old shrines. The Islamic radicalisation and resulting violence against the minority Hindu community saw the mass desecration of temples across the Jammu and Kashmir state in the districts of Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Badgam and Pulwama.

The year 1992 witnessed some of the gruesome attacks, vandalisation, arson and looting of Hindu temples including the Raghunath Mandir in Srinagar which witnessed successive terrorist attacks. Nandkishore Temple in Baramulla, Shadipur Temple in Srinagar, Shri Vishnu Temple on the Bank of River Jhelum among others were the prominent temples desecrated during Islamist violence.

After the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir, the BJP had drawn a plan for re-opening the thousands of temples in the now union territory which remain shattered. In 2020, restoration of the centuries-old Raghunath temple – one of the few temples dedicated to Rama commenced after thirty years of dilapidation.

While the dialogue of Anupam Kher in The Kashmir Files highlighting the region as a land of Saraswati, Shiva and Panchatantra is winning hearts, local Kashmiri Hindus want the temples of the land to be revived to their lost glory.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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