ANANTNAG: In yet another example of communal harmony at a time when many Kashmiris are reluctant to visit outside the valley post February 14 attack on CRPF, Kashmiri Muslims are helping to restore an 80-yaer-old Shiv temple in south Kashmir district of Pulwama.
Reacting to it, former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said this is what Kashmiriyat is all about.
Once the restoration working in the temple is completed, the Azhan (call for prayers) from mosques and the sound of temple bells will against reverberate in the air in village Acchan in Pulwama, after more than three decades of silence.
The local Muslims led by Muslim Auqaf Committee and a sole Kashmiri Pandit family living in the village are painting, refurnishing, repairing the Shiv temple, which remained deserted since the Pandits migrated from the valley due to militancy in 1990.
The repair and restoration work was suspended for few days following attacks on Kashmiris, including students, in Jammu and other parts of the country after fidayeen attack on CRPF that left 40 jawans dead on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Pulwama. The village is just about 11 km from the blast site.
However, the locals under the supervision of the Pandit family against started the work on Monday, when the most important festival of the Kashmiri pandits — ‘Herath’ (Maha Shivratri) — was celebrated across the valley by members of the minority community.
“We approached the local Auqaf Committee and sought their help in restoring the temple. The members of the committee at once agreed to help in restoring the 80-year-old temple,” Sanjay Kumar, a Pulwama resident said.
He said the people in the village live together in peace and harmony. “Once the restoration work is completed, we will place an idol at the sanctum sanctorum for worship,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Yousuf, a local, said they hope for the old days to return when the Azhan from mosques and sound of temple bells used to resonate in the air at the same time.
“At a quaint little village in Kashmir, muslims & pandits come together to help restore an old temple. On the day of Herath also known as Shivratri, steaming cups of Kehwa are served to everyone at the temple. Yeh hai humari Kashmiriyat,” Ms Mehbooba, who is the president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.