Mattan's Kashmiri pandits angry with Shrine

Mattan is known to be particularly sacred for Kashmiri Pandits who were also soothsayers and matchmakers.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2006 20:49 IST

The priests of Mattan - a sacred place for Hindus - are angry with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and Justice (retd) KK Gupta who have accused them of tampering with the Shivalingam (an icon of Lord Shiva) at the cave shrine of Amarnath this year.

"This is a conspiracy against our community hatched by the Shrine Board and touted by Justice Gupta inquiry report," Ashok Siddha, President of Purohit Sabha, Mattan, said.

Justice Gupta in his 90-page report submitted to Governor Lt Gen (retd) SK Sinha, who is also chairman of the Shrine Board, has indicted the priests of Mattan and Ganespora for having installed a Shivalingam at the shrine before the pilgrimage began.

The angry priests say Justice Gupta is resorting to "misinformation and a vicious campaign against the Mattan priests at the behest of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board that wanted to save its skin."

Siddha said that he would move the Supreme Court against Justice Gupta and the Shrine Board. He alleged that an artificial Shivalingam had been installed by SASB. "It is a known fact," he said. "How could priests do such a job when the whole area is in the control of the Shrine Board and security forces?"

Mattan is particularly sacred for Kashmiri Pandits, where priests used to maintain a record of Hindu families. They were also soothsayers and matchmakers. Many of them still live in Mattan, a township famous for its temples of Pandavas and clear water springs.

First Published: Aug 27, 2006 20:49 IST