The Joint Forum of KP Organisations on Friday demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir Shrines and Religious Places of Kashmiri Hindus Bill, which is lying before the state assembly in the select committee, should describe places of worship and reverence in Kashmir as the "Hindu shrines and religious places of Kashmir" instead of "shrines and religious places of Kashmiri Hindus".
Addressing mediapersons on Friday, Ashwani Chrungoo, president, Panun Kashmir, said the select committee of the legislature body should discuss the subject of the Bill with them before finalising its opinion.
"The temples and shrines of Kashmir are the symbols of religious and cultural beliefs of the indigenous people of Kashmir. They also represent more than 5,000 years of the cultural ethos of Kashmir. The culture of Kashmir, its identity and its being have grown around these signposts. Today, this whole heritage is at a brink," Chrungoo said.
The joint forum members further said the government was fully aware of and has accepted this dire state of affairs. "Most of the Kashmiri Hindu shrine places have become victims of greed, lust and covetousness. The result is not only a threat to the existence of these places but plenty of funds are revenue generating assets attached thereto, which are also misused and held up, leaving no scope for their utilisation to meet the development needs of these temples," Chrungoo said, adding that it was a matter of concern for the whole community and the Kashmiri Pandits, being the indigenous people of Kashmir and the predominant section of the Hindu fraternity in Kashmir, have a moral obligation and duty to raise this issue of concern in the most befitting manner.
Meanwhile, the Panun Kashmir president said over the last couple of years, Pt Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust has been spearheading the campaign for the enactment of the shrines and temples bill. They also extended support to the trust in its endeavour to accomplish the task and also extended support to its programme of rally/demonstration slated for September 1.
Others present on the occasion included HL Chatta, president, ASKPC; HN Jattu, president, AIKPC; DN Kissu, chairman, ADKPUF; Sardar Prem Singh, president, KSDF; and Virender Raina, official spokesperson of the joint forum.