M Aamir Khan
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, March 5
In an effort to give out a message of communal harmony, Muslims and Hindus have come together to restore a Shiva temple at Achan village in Pulwama district.
People at the village are hopeful that their efforts will send out a message of peace from the district in the wake the February 14 suicide attack on CRPF men at Lethpora, which is just 15 km away from Achan.
“We want to give out a message of peace and communal harmony at a time when some people are engaged in warmongering on electronic and social media. We want to convey that Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits live here together like before,” Nazir Mir, chairman of the local Auqaf Committee, told The Tribune.
He said they had been approached by local Pandits to facilitate the renovation of the temple that had stopped functioning after the 1989 exodus.
“When Pandits migrated 30 years ago, only two to four families remained at Achan village...now there is only one. Last year, they approached the Auqaf Committee, seeking help in the restoration of this neglected temple that used to be thronged by devotees from all over the country before 1989,” said Mir.
“Though the renovation work is being done under the supervision of Bhushan Lal, head of the sole Pandit family here, we managed to get Rs 4 lakh sanctioned from the district administration for its restoration,” said Mir, while maintaining that the renovated temple would be thrown open later this year.
Bhushan Lal said they hoped that peace and good old times would return with the restoration of the temple. “We want peace and the good old days to return.... This temple is famous for a spring that changes colours and devotees from all over the country used to come here,” he said.
Mohammad Yunus, a member of the Auqaf Committee, said they wanted that the temple bells and ‘azaan’ (call for prayer) were heard together at Achan. “It is our wish that Pandits return and live together with us like before. Though the restoration work started in August last year, it had to be stopped in the winter due to heavy snowfall. By summer, we are hopeful that our village will hear the ‘azaan’ and temple bells together,” he said.
We want to send out a message of peace and communal harmony. When Pandits migrated 30 years ago, only two to four families remained at Achan village...now there is only one.
Last year, they approached the Auqaf Committee, seeking help for the restoration of this neglected Shiva temple. — Nazir Mir, Chairman, Auqaf Committee
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