PDP-BJP coalition government hesitant on Temples Bill to be reintroduced in Assembly

Lack of consensus

  • The PDP-BJP government has no plans to reintroduce the Hindu Shrines and Religious Places (Management and Regulation) Bill in the Legislative Assembly during its tenure
  • The earlier Bill lapsed after the change in government of 2014-15
  • Facing opposition from the PDP, Congress, BJP and even NC MLAs, the earlier Bill was referred to a select committee. It too failed to reach at any consensus and the report was tabled in February 2014Gutted Temple Kashmir

The state government seems to be going aggressively against the wishes of the minorities of the state. First they refused to acknowledge the minorities, or special segments, of the state and now they have backed out from reintroducing the Hindu Shrines and Religious Places (Management and Regulation) Bill in the Legislative Assembly.

The bill aims to establish a management system on the pattern of Muslim Auqaf Trust and Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to safeguard the temples in the Kashmir valley.

Interestingly, was first introduced in the Assembly in 2009 by National Conference (NC) leader and then Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather.

According to news reports by The Tribune, following are the words of a minister of the ruling coalition

The government has no plans to reintroduce the Bill. No party is in its favour due to various political considerations. Even if a private member Bill is introduced, it can never get a passage”

The pressure is not only from political but other bodies like Dharmath Trust and smaller temple committees which have been managing several shrines in the Valley for over a century. Their contention from day one has remained that only those shrines should be brought under the purview of management body which were abandoned by Hindus in 1990. Those shrines which have been maintained during the militancy years should be excluded from its ambit.shiv lingam burnt achan pulwama

On the other hand Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust, which has been fighting for the passage of the Bill for over a decade demands that the ruling BJP-PDP government take a decision in this regard. The spokesperson of the trust says that,

“Only a constitutional and legal safeguard can save religious places of the Hindus in the Valley. The government should take step and bring an amended Bill to restore the confidence of Pandits”

The representative organisations of the displaced Pandits too are not able to create a consensus on the extent of government control or create a pressure group to articulate their point in a proper way before the political parties.

It is notable that since the eruption of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir about 408 temples have been damaged and hundreds of others are in dilapidated condition. The fact has been admitted by the Government in Legislative Assembly.