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."

Temple Desecration

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:


Name of Temple  Location  District  Remarks
Vamu Mandir  Verinag  Anantnag  Ancient Idol publicly desecrated and then removed.
Temple on the spring  Verinag  Anantnag  Burnt. 
Vetesta Mandir (Vetha Votur), Two Dharamshallas (Three Storeyed)  Verinag  Anantnag  Burnt. Temple As ancient as River Jehlum (Vitasta) 
Buna Gund Mandir  Verinag  Anantnag  Burnt
Two Dharamshallas, Manzgam Mandir  Tehsil Kulgam  Anantnag  ThisTemple is also known as Khir Bhawani Mandir. Burnt after removing removing whole moveable property.
Uma Nagri  Brarianangan  Anantnag  -
Kantiyani Mandir  Kakran  Anantnag  Under Dharmarth Trust of Dr. Karan Singh, blasted and has got damaged.
Mirhama Mandir  Mirhama, Kulgam  Anantnag  Burnt. 
Two ancient shrines  Hanand, Chowalgam  Anantnag  Burnt
Kulwagishori Mandir  Kulgam  Anantnag  Idols, pictures and scriptures desecrated, removed, Dharamshalla Burnt.
Devsar Mandir  Devsar, Kulgam  Anantnag  Burnt
Ancient Temple Tripor Sondri Khanabarni  Devsar, Kulgam  Anantnag  Burnt to ashes along with three Dharamshallas and "havan" shed.
Luka Bhauan  Larkipora  Anantnag  Three Temples & Dharamshallas burnt which uere also damaged in 1986 and subsequently repaired.
Name of Temple  Location  District  Remarks
Botsar Mandir and Ashram  Uttarsoo  Anantnag  The temple 8 houses, two cow sheds, 2 kothars of Hindus were set on fire.
Pahalgam Temple  Pahalgam  Anantnag  The tin shed of Pahalgam temple gutted partially. Fire was controlled by fire services.
Shiva Mandir  SheerGunj  Anantnag  The temple, 6 residential houses, 1 cow sheds, 2 kothars of Hindus were set on fire on 8-12-92.
Ashmuji Mandir  Kulgam  Anantnag  Burnt along with Dharmshalla.
One Mandir  Chatargul  Anantnag  One temple at Chatargul. Achbal was set on fire.
One Mandir  Hard Chanan  Rafiabad, Baramulla  Militants atttempted to set on fire temple at Hardchanan on 11-12/12/92 but got it partially damaged.
One temple  Palhalan  -do-  During the night intervening 9/10 Dec. 1992 militants set on fire a place of worship at village Palhalan (Patan) 
One temple  Karihama  -do-  Burnt.
One temple  Kreri  -do-  Burnt.
Shiva Mandir Vishnov  Baramulla  -do-  Burnt. This is also located on River Jehlum. It is not Shilputri temple damaged in 1990.
Nandkishwar Bairav Nath Mandir  Sumbal  -do-  It was set on fire on 8-12-92 but saved.
One temple  Nowgam  Budgam  Burnt.
One Temple  Bana Mohalla  Srinagar  The Temple is on the Bank of River Jehlum. Burnt by applying fire to varandah of a displaced house touching the temple.
Name of Temple  Location  District  Remarks
One Temple & shed at crematorium  Karan Nagar  Srinagar  Temple and shed gutted. Cause of fire- mischievousness.
Magarmal Bagh Mandir  Srinagar  -do-  Burnt. 
Kunzer Mandir  Kunzer  Baramulla  Burnt
Karihama Mandir  Karihama  Budgam  Burnt
Karfali Mohalla Mandir  Srinagar  Srinagar  Damaged
One Temple  Areh, Kulgam  Anantnag  Burnt
Bata Gund Mandir  Handwara  Kupwara  Burnt
Chogal Mandir  Handwara  Kupwara  Burnt
Chak Narayan Dass Mandir  Tangmarg  Baramulla  Burnt
Narayan Bagh Shadipora Mandir & pathshalla  Shadipora  Baramulla  By throwing grenades on the temple & pathshalla.
Bhairavnath Mandir, Nursing Garh  Karan Nagar  Srinagar  Burnt by mobs in broad daylight.
Sri. Sanatan Dharm Sabha, Amira Kadal  Srinagar  Srinagar  The buildings were set on fire.



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