Sadhu grabs Shopian temple land

Sheikh Hilal

SHOPIAN

A Hindu Pujari from Udhampur has ‘fraudulently’ transferred the Temple land of Shopian to his name and as the local Pandits on Monday reached the spot for reconstruction of the temple they were stopped by the authorities showing an order of ‘status quo’ issued on the request of the Pujari.

Ram Temple situated at Hergam area of the southern apple town is believed to be one of the oldest temples. “The temple known as ‘Thoker der’ and one of the Ram temples of the valley has been in Shopian since Maharaj’s times,” VS Lahori told Kashmir Life. The Temple was burnt in 1991.

A few days earlier some local Pandits reached the spot and after very warmly received by the local Muslims, decided to reconstruct the Temple. They did some cleansing of the area and informed the local administration about their reconstruction program.

“It was on June 16 that the Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Shopian, demarcated the land and allowed its reconstruction,” sources said.

They added that two days earlier when the same Pandits came to start the construction work, the concerned municipal committee officials came with a ‘status quo’ order on the request of Chander Mohan and stopped the work.

 “Chander Mohan was the last custodian of the temple,” Lahori said adding he was from Udhampur district who took over the custodianship of the temple after the pandits left the valley.

“Chander Mohan was in fact an associate of Roopmani Das, a Pujari who looked after the temple for many years,” Lahori said adding “We know nothing about Roopmani Das.”

Local sources said that there were many associates of Roopmani Das and Chander Mohan was one among them.

Revenue sources said that Chander Mohan of Udhampur district has transferred the property fraudulently to his name in 2012.

“Yes, Das has managed the transfer of temple land and I have managed a copy from the revenue department, Lahori said. He said, “I have documental proof of the fact that when the temple was burnt in 1991, the insurance and the ex-gratia money was also been received by Chander Mohan.”

Pertinently, the local Muslims have not encroached even an inch of the temple land over the years but instead protected it. “The land is a little more than what is recorded which proves that the locals have not encroached it,” a revenue official said.

Pertinently, a group of local pandits is in Shopian since some days and they are in the process to reconstruct all the temples in the town. The group includes B L Saraf, Lashmun Singh and others.

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