Much to the chagrin of Kashmiri Hindu migrant community Omar Abdullah led coalition government on Friday put the Kashmiri Hindu Shrine bill in the cold storage by referring it to the select committee of the lower house.
The bill to provide for the better management, protection, administration and goverance of Kashmiri Hindu shrines and Religious places in the state was first introduced in 2009 by the then Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister AR Rather.
Ahead of bringing the bill for consideration and passing in the lower house the state government has doled out assurances to the members of the Kashmiri Hindu migrant community to pass the much delayed bill.
Ironically on Friday when the bill came up for consideration and passing the state government once again chose the escape route and referred it to the select committee at the end of the long debate ignoring the sentiments of the migrant community.
Participating in the discussion majority of members belonging to the opposition parties supported the passing of the bill to ensure early start of renovation work of damaged temple structures/encroached religious places in Kasmir valley. As per state government records at least 208 temples out of a total number of 438 temples which existed in Kashmir valley in 1990 were damaged in the last over two decade long period of turmoil.
Various Kashmiri pandit organisations including Panun Kashmir have recorded their displeasure over the dilly dallying tactics adopted by the Omar Abdullah led coalition government vis-a-vis passing the Kashmiri Hindu Shrine Bill.
The Bill, according to political pundits, was placed in the cold storage by the coalition govt to gain more time before completing wide scale consultations with all the stake holders.Speaking in support of the bill Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, of breakaway BJP group,Panthers party leader Harsh Dev Singh and CPI (M) MLA MY Targami said it is high time the state govt should pass the bill and send a positive signal to the members of the Kashmiri pandit community that they are committed to create conducive atmosphere ahead of their return to the Kashmir valley.
On the other hand senior National Conference legisaltors including Dr Mustafa Kamal, Nasir Aslam Wani, Javed Dar, Aijaz Jan and some other MLA’s including Er Abdul Rasheed expressed their view in support of sending the bill to the select committee to remove the anomalies. Er Rasheed had supported the passing of the bill and also issued an appeal to the Kashmiri migrants to first return to the Kashmir valley and live in harmony with the members of the majority community. Acting on the feedback shared by the members in the lower house Parliamentary and Law Affairs Minister Mir Saifullah recommended the speaker to refer the bill to the select committee. In the end the speaker Mubarak Gul referred the bill to the select committee after taking a voice vote in support of it.