Migrant Kashmiri Hindus demand corridor to Sarda Temple in PoK
Jammu, Nov 26: A prominent Kashmiri Hindus' body Monday demanded a corridor to the "world-famous" Sharda Devi Temple in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir on the lines of one proposed to Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal district in Pakistan.
All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) of displaced Kashmiri Hindus raised the demand on the day Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu along with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone at Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district for the corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
APMCC chief Vinood Pandita and its members have been batting for the reopening of the temple for the past ten years and have even sat on fast unto death for it -- once in Jammu and for a second time at Porbandar in Gujarat.
The two fasts had lasted 10 to 15 days each. They had earlier also undertaken a yatra to the temple and had marched up to the last point Sharda Teon on Indian side of the Line of Control en route the temple.
"We welcome the government's decision on building the corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to facilitate easy passage to Sikh pilgrims. We want the government to take similar steps to create a corridor to Sharda Devi Temple as well to facilitate Hindu pilgrims reach there," Pandita told reporters here.
The decision to build the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara corridor, which would facilitate the Sikh pilgrims to visit and return from the shrine without any passport or travel document the same day, was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is slated to hold the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor on the Pakistani side on November 28.
On similar lines, a corridor to Sharda Devi Temple too can be built across the two side of the LoC between Tweetwal and Sharda, which are hardly few kilometers apart, the APMCC chief said.
Pandita, who earlier also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to pursue the cause, said the Centre should take this step as a confidence-building measure for the displaced community of Kashmir.
Even PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti pitched Monday for building a corridor to the temple. Sharada Peeth is an abandoned temple located in the Sharda village along the Neelam River across the LoC.
It was a major centre of learning and is regarded as one of the 18 highly-revered temples across south Asia. It was also a major centre of learning at par with the ancient seats of learning at Nalanda and Taxila.