Hindus and Muslims join hands to renovate a temple in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Oct.16 (ANI): A group of Kashmiri Hindus and local Muslims have set an example of brotherhood and communal harmony by coming together to renovate an abandoned temple in Srinagar city.

Shiv Ji Temple Welfare Committee (STWC) has taken the initiative to ensure renovation of the abandoned Bod Mandir (big temple) in Rainawari area with the help and support of local Muslim residents.

The renovation work commenced a month ago and the local Muslims are engaged in the renovation of the temple's two rooms and bathroom in the first phase.

Various drawing or paintings of Lord Shiva in the temple looked ruined, as the cement of some of the walls had come off due to the temple remaining abandoned for a long time.

According to some people, militant had burnt down the temple in the early 90s after the majority of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave the Kashmir valley.

The local Muslim residents are enthusiastic to contribute towards the renovation of the temple and hope that the same old traditions of communal harmony will return to the area as soon as the temple is reopened for the devotees.

"We will definitely help them out. What is the harm in helping them? They are like our brothers and like our children. They are not neighbours here.They belong to this region only so we will help them. Earlier also we used to eat together, eat from the same plate I don't know what went wrong with the environment here. It seems some bad time had come upon us," said Mohammad Aslam, a local Muslim.

Local Muslims have offered their complete support in temple's restoration.

"Since morning about 100 people have come here to help. We were happy as they saw and asked us to restore this temple. They said that this should be restored, as it is a temple for everyone. It is not a matter of any religion. This is God's gift they said. People from nearby areas are very happy and keep coming here and want the temple to be restored soon. They also offer their complete support and help. Some of them are working also with us, that too for free," said Gulam Hassan, another local Muslim.

Thousands of Kashmiri Hindus had to flee the Kashmir valley due to rise of militancy in 1989. Many temples were set ablaze by the insurgents during early nineties.

According to the National Human Rights Commission, about 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits, as the Hindus are called in Kashmir, have been forced to leave Kashmir because of violence in the region.

While some Kashmiri Hindus have made their way to Delhi, the national capital, and other parts of the country, about 200,000 bitter and disillusioned Pandits are still languishing in Jammu. By Afzal Butt (ANI)

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