Shital Nath Temple in Srinagar, Kashmir opened its doors to devotees for the first time in 31 years yesterday on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami after it was shut down due to militancy and the outmigration of Hindus in the area.
A special pooja was performed to mark the same and was attended with huge fervor by devotees. One of the organizers of the pooja said that Muslim locals had come forward to support with the initiative and also helped to clean the desecrated temple.
While the Shital Nath Temple was able to see light again, various other temples including Martand Sun temple and Sharda Peeth have been destructed by Islamic invasion in the terrorism hit region which saw a great rise in the years leading up to the 1990s. Reportedly, 208 temples out of the 438 in the valley were damaged over the years.
Nevertheless, after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism has been on the decline bringing the Kashmir Valley one step closer to its centuries-old indigenous tradition of communal harmony and religious syncretism
This comes amidst the visit of foreign diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir to analyze ‘ground situation’ after the Modi Government’s move of scrapping the region of its semi-autonomous status in 2019. This is the third such visit of foreign envoys to assess the situation in the area, but the first one since the restoration of Internet Services in J&K.
One of the foreign delegates, Juan José Cortez Rojas, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Bolivia called the development in the UT’s situation impressive. “What we are realizing is that democracy took place here. People here are happy with the political decisions the Central Government took,” he said.
However, the Opposition, including People’s Conference leader Omar Abdullah have criticized the visit, calling it a “guided tour in which delegates only met with hand-picked individuals.”
It is worth noting that the number of terrorist violence cases and stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have reduced drastically in 2020 in comparison to 2019 after abrogation of Article 370. There were 594 cases of terrorist violence in 2019, which reduced to 244 in 2020.