Thefts in Kashmir temples on rise, claims Pandit body

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (UNI) Thefts in temples and shrines of the Kashmir Valley have witnessed a significant rise in the past few months, claimed a prominent Kashmiri Pandit organisation.

In a statement here, the All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS), an apex body of Indian and overseas Kashmiri Pandit organisations, termed as ''unfortunate'' the recent incidents of ''well-planned thefts'' in the temples and shrines besides places of heritage importance in the strife-torn Valley.

It said the thefts have been reported in Bhagwan Shri Gopi Nathji Ashram at Khanyar in summer capital Srinagar, at a shrine in Fatehgarh area of Baramulla district of north Kashmir, at a temple in Parihaspura, a heritage site at Pattan in Baramulla district besides several other places in the Kashmir Valley.

The AIKS blamed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the ruling coalition governments at the Centre and the state for these ''unfortunate developments.'' ''The civil administration is completely insensitive towards such unfortunate and shameful incidents,'' it alleged.

The AIKS said it was the responsibility of the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government to protect the temples, shrines and properties belonging to the displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

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