Kashmiri Pandits protests to push through their demands

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Kashmir pandits protesting and demanding fulfillment of their six point agenda. PHOTO: BILAL BAHADUR
Kashmir pandits protesting and demanding fulfillment of their six point agenda. PHOTO: BILAL BAHADUR

Kashmiri pandits (KPs) Wednesday protested at press enclave to push forth their demands that were promised to them earlier by different political regimes in Kashmir.

KP  were demanding that their six point agenda be fulfilled by the government which includes, passing of the Temple and Shrines bill which is pending in the legislature, probe into the encroachments of Hindu temples, facilitating visit to Sharda temple in Pakistan administered Kashmir, establishment of the Shardha Peeth University in J&K besides conceding one-time relaxation for over-aged migrant Kashmiri Pandits and special employment package for non-migrant Kashmiri pandits.

Amit Raina, one of the protestors, voiced that the passage of temple bill and establishment of the Shardha Peeth University is more important and must be implemented on immediate basis. “Temple bill is stalled in the house for six years now. It should be passed without any further delay” he appealed.

“Government should also initiate dialogue with Pakistan to facilitate the visit of Kashmiri pandits to Shardha temple in Pakistan administrated Kashmir (PaK)”, he demanded.

Labeling Manmohan Singh’s ‘PM package’  a failure, Arun Dandroo, part of the demonstrations, insisted that Shardha University which was earlier located at Bijbehara, Islamabad should be re-established so that “our culture” can be preserved.

Vinod Pandith, a  pandit activist, said that the present government led by Omar Abdullah had consented earlier to “fulfil our demands when we organised a hunger strike”.

He added, “Omar Abdullah then sent in R S Chib, the then cabinet minister to diffuse the crisis with a promise that our demands will be fulfilled. But when we approached him after a week, he plainly declined citing “Yuvraj Karan Singh” as a factor in its passage”.

Protesters were also demanding a CBI probe to unravel the faces involved in the encroachment and grabbing of temple and other Hindu religious properties. “When government can order CBI probe in Sex scandal, fake encounters and Shopian double rape and murder case, why can’t it initiate such a probe in our case to unravel the encroachers of Hindu religious properties”, Vinod Pandith questioned.

Further, he said that like LoC Trade, their visit to Shardha Temple in PaK should also be facilitated by the government. “Not allowing us to visit Shardha Temple in PaK is a human right violation” he regretted.

The protesters threatened that if their demands are not conceded, they will be organising a hunger strike, fast unto death on August 17 i.e. Janmashtami, a revered day according to Hindu mythology.

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