May 2016 News

Passage Of Temple Bill Precondition To Kashmiri Pandits Return To Valley

23 May 2016

Jammu: An organisation representing Kashmiri Pandits today said the passage of Kashmir temples and shrines bill in the Assembly is the 'biggest' confidence building measure and a 'precondition' for the return and rehabilitation of the community into the Valley. Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust (PNBMT) spokesperson R L Bhat told reporters here the objective of the Bill is to take the temples and shrines out of the 'control' of some persons and throw them open for public. PNBMT is a nodal agency of various Kashmiri Pandits' social, religious and trade organisations pressing for the passage of Kashmir temple and Shrines Protection Bill and setting up of temple board. 'The passage of Kashmiri Pandits Temples and Shrines Bill is a precondition to return and rehabilitation of the community into the Kashmir Valley. It's the biggest confidence building measure for KPs to return to the Valley,' Bhat told reporters here. He also said the trust has no objection to changing the name of the Bill from Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Religious Places ( Management and Regulation ) Bill to Shrines and Religious Places of Hindus of Kashmir (Management and Regulation) Bill. He said the Bill will create an elected shrine board which would manage temples and shrines in the Kashmir Valley. 'Shrine Bill has same objectives as the bills of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Sarthal Mata Shrine and Shiv Khori Shrine in Jammu. All these bills were instrumental in setting up of boards for the management and upkeep of shrines and temples,' he said. He said these bills were passed by Assembly, though Baridars - who cntrolled the shrine before the Bill was passed - at all these shrines objected to them. 'They even went to the Supreme Court. Their objections were private and declared by courts to be personal and not in the interest of the community. Same is the case with the Shrine Bill. While all these boards were nominated by the government, the Shrine Bill for temples in Kashmir provides for an elected shrine board for transparent management,' he said.