In what comes as a welcome sign for Hindus in the Kashmir valley, Shital Nath Temple located in the Habba Kadal area of Srinagar reopened on Tuesday after being closed for decades due to terrorism and mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the region. To mark the opening of the gates of the temple, a special ‘Pooja’ was conducted by the devotees.
Jammu and Kashmir: Shital Nath temple in Habba Kadal area of Srinagar reopened after 31 years on the occasion of Basant Panchami yesterday.
"The temple was closed due to militancy and outmigration of Hindus. Today, we decided to offer puja here," a devote said. pic.twitter.com/iLkdtRC3Qh
— ANI (@ANI) February 16, 2021
The opening of the Temple was only made possible after the abrogation of Article 370 as terrorism and stone-pelting incidents have reduced considerably since the centre’s landmark decision that took place on August 5, 2019.
Recently, Union Minister of State Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy told Rajya Sabha during the Budget session that the number of terrorist violence cases and stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir had reduced drastically in 2020 in comparison to 2019.
“A total of 157 terrorists were neutralised in 2019 and 221 were eliminated in 2020. There were 594 cases of terrorist violence in 2019, which reduced to 244 in 2020. There were 327 stone pelting incidents in 2020 as compared to 2,009 such incidents in 2019,” said the Minister.
127 people were injured in ceasefire violations by Pakistan in 2019, in 2020 only 71 people were injured. In 2019 there were 216 attempts of infiltration, in 2020 there were 99 such attempts: MoS Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy in Rajya Sabha#JammuAndKashmir pic.twitter.com/bdoJOM5qxU
— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2021
The opening of the Hindu temple is not the first decision taken by the centre to bring normalcy and Kashmiri Pandits back to the region. Reported by TFI, Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September last year approved the Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill 2020 which makes five languages viz. Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri, English and Urdu—the official language of the region.
“We have decided to introduce the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020 in Parliament, under which five languages—Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and English—will become official languages. This has been done based on demand by the people,” I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had said.
The project is set to be established in Jammu City and will highlight the glory days of the Dogra rule in the state. Over the years the immense contribution of Dogras in Jammu & Kashmir’s history has gone unnoticed. The political narrative and discourse of the region has entirely shifted to the problems of Kashmir valley and the Kashmiri people.
These slew of changes brought in by the central government will help the Hindus in Kashmir reclaim their lost glory. The separatist, as well as terrorist forces, have toyed enough with the lives of Hindus for decades but not anymore under the NDA regime. The temples have started opening and soon the Pandits will be flocking their ancestral lands without any fear or danger from the anti-national elements.