City of Temples takes ‘pride’ in becoming City of Mosques too
JAMMU: The City of Temples turning into the City of Mosques is not an issue at all because Jammu is inclusive and secular in character. That is what all the so-called mainstream leaders from the Kashmir Valley have been saying and hailing since 1990 and this ‘praise and acknowledgment’ has had a toxic effect on their Jammu based factotums with whose tacit support the Temple City witnessed the construction of over a hundred mosques after 1994, when their number was just three. This got about nine-fold in 1995 before hitting a century in the years to come, according to the Chairman of NGO Ikkjut Jammu Advocate Ankur Sharma, in a presser on February 17. 2020.
So far so good! But what happened to the temples across the Valley post 1990? After all secularism was supposed to be ingrained in the body and soul of Kashmir– known for Kashmiriyat. But it had not to be so. Not to speak of any new temple coming up, the Valley witnessed vandalisation of thousands of worship places, according to the displaced temples and shrines activists. However, relying on the official figures, 208 temples suffered damages till 2012. Jammu and Kashmir Government told the Legislative Assembly in a written reply on October 4, 2012 that 208 temples in the then State suffered damages during past “two decades of militancy (terrorism) with Srinagar witnessing highest number of acts of vandalism. “Of the 438 temples in the Valley, 208 had been damaged over the years,” stated the government, adding that 57 temples were damaged in Srinagar, followed by south Kashmir’s Anantnag district where 56 temples suffered damage. The National Conference- Congress government led by Omar Abdullah had chosen to remain silent over the issue of those responsible for the vandalism and the damages. Ironically, it was he who had told the Lok Sabha during the speech on Trust Motion on July 22, 2008, “You people (BJP) talk of Amarnath…. Show me one place where any Kashmiri has spoken against the yatra…where they have attacked Amarnath yatris. It was an issue concerning our land. We fought for our land, and will continue to fight for our land till our dying breath.” The message was loud and clear that there was no land in Kashmir for even raising temporary facilities for Hindu pilgrims, no matter if thousands acre of land at Bhatindi, Narwal, Sunjwan, Kaluchak, Peer Baba Mohalla, Poonchi Mohalla, Channi Rama, Channi Himmat, Raika, Sidhra, Rangoora, Khanpur, Nagrota, Gujjar Mohalla, Qasim Nagar on both sides of newly built NH 44 Bypass gets transformed into an exclusive domain for Samuday Vishesh.
Encouraged by innate hate for the Hindu culture and traditions in the Valley, especially after nineties, the Bollywood too jumped into the fray to satiate the vicarious pleasure of the pseudo lobby by describing one of the country’s grandest Suriya Temple-the Martand Temple-as Shaitan Ki Gufa, the devils den in Haider movie. The film was shot on Kashmir locale from 2012 to early 2014 when the NC-Congress was in the cradle of power. Nobody in the administration, particularly the nodal Department of Tourism, thought it prudent to raise objection to such a bizarre description of the ancient temple complex. Perhaps such a terminology for the heritage site suited all. The film was released on October 2, 2014-the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who is believed to have seen a ray of light emanating from Kashmir during the horrendous days of the partition. This anthem is being sung by the Kashmir mainstream day in and day out even after the total cleansing of the minuscule minority from the land of saints. Out of deceit and deception, they might have been hailing the Jammu hospitality during the timeline of getting foothold in Jammu for about two decades, their response to the killing of Jammu’s Rajni Devi or Rajouri’s Ranjit Singh in May this year, however, remained dismal. But for a routine handout of condemnation, they failed in repaying back to what they had got in terms of making Jammu their second home. No tears, no candle-marches or no mobilization of voice against the mayhem unleashed by way of selective killings.