Destruction of Hindu Temples in Kashmir BY: SUN STAFF
Mata Vaishno Devi’s Cave Shrine
Jul 29, KASHMIR, INDIA (SUN) — While Kashmir’s Hindu temples continue to be destroyed, rebuilding has also begun.
In Srinigar, India, news was announced yesterday that “an amalgam of 16 Kashmiri Pandit Organizations have formed a trust for restoration and reconstruction of over 200 temples and shrines destroyed by Islamic militancy in the valley and demanded financial aid from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir. “We have launched Kashmir Temple Trust for reconstruction of all the temples and shrines destroyed in 17 years long militancy period in valley.”
The All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) has constructed and repaired temples and associated religious places in Rupabhawani, Vaskura (Ganderbal), Kheerbhawani (Devesar), Siva temple and 5,000-year old Deities at Dab Wakura. Two shrines of Prayag (Sangam–Shadipora) and Kheerbhawani Manzgam are under construction.
Destruction of a Vishnu shrine in Kashmir
As noted in a 2003 report from the Tribune, the Shankaracharya Temple in Kashmir (pictured below) is also on the list of temples need urgent attention. “The 5000-year-old black stone Shiva temple, seat of Adhi Shankaracharya in northern India, set against the picturesque backdrop of world famous Dal Lake, awaits immediate restoration, as its multiple cracks and erosion remained unattended during the past 13 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple has developed 16 cracks on its unique architectured roof top and bewitching circumference due to the utter negligence of the Dharmarth Temple Trust.
While 37 Hindu shrines were allegedly converted into Islamic monuments or destroyed during the advent of Islam in Kashmir, 39 temples were damaged or destroyed during the 1986 riots, 15 temples damaged from 1987 to 1990 and 21 shrines damaged and destroyed between 1990 to 1992.” That damage has continued until today, as the list of damaged and destroyed Hindu temples increases.
“There are as many as 200 temples and other shrines which have been either damaged or destroyed in the militancy and over 100 places which have been forcibly encroached in the valley, he said. “We will also help the Muslim majority community in the valley to preserve major shrines which are in shambles like Uma Nagri, Manzgam Kheerbhawani, Omh, Vethvatur, Jawala Bagwati shrines in the valley in first place,” Pandit said.”
According to the Panun Kashmir Movement, a Jammu based organizaton representing Kashmiri pandits, “Desecration, damage and destruction of temples is not new and unusual phenomena. The process has been continuously going on ever since Kashmir passed into political domination of Muslim rulers in the first quarter of fourteenth century.
Islam like other Semitic religions enjoins upon the faithfuls to expand their religion by proselytizing the heathens, infidels and ‘kafirs’ (non-believers) to their faith to gain religious merit. “Jihad” or holy war is the instrument that is used for proselytizatlon. The Muslim rulers of Kashmir, the Mughals and Pathans made full use of their political authority to effect conversion of Hindus of the valley. To achieve the objective it became imperative for them to wipe out all traces of religious and cultural symbols of Hindus which included their temples, libraries, universities and ashrams etc.
In Kashmir gun powder was used for the first time not for fighting a war but for destroying massive Hindu stone temples. When it was felt that the fissionable material was not available in sufficient quantity for the iconoclasm, the nearby jungles were cut and used for setting on fire the giant stone structures of Hindu Temples. By excessive heat the stones burst, broke-away and crumbled these gigantic structures that spread through the length and breadth of Kashmir. The ruins of Martand, Avantipur, Devar etc. are mute witnesses of the depredation.”
The Kashmir Information Network (KIN) was established to track and document the systemic destruction of Hindu temples by Islamic rebels and terrorists. KIN reports that “Since 1990, planned and organized secessionist-terrorism has brutalized Kashmir, the valley of peace and exquisite beauty. Systematic efforts have been made to destroy its syncretic culture, traditions, and heritage, by an orgy of mindless violence fueled by religious fanaticism and extremism, aided and abetted from across India’s borders.
Terrorism has taken the lives of more than 2000 innocent men, women and children; the terrorists have indulged wantonly in abduction, rape, murder, arson, extortion and looting. Government officials, political leaders and workers, members of judiciary, print and electronic presspersons, and prominent citizens have been threatened, attacked and killed. Religious “codes of conduct” have been imposed on common people, and there has been large scale destruction of public and private property including over 400 secular state schools. More than 350,000 people of the minority community have had to flee their homes in the valley and today live as refugees in other parts of their own state and country. This is the “accomplishment” of the secessionists proxy-war in Kashmir.
Following is but a partial list of the Hindu temples and shrines that have been seriously damaged or destroyed in Kashmir: