Almost three weeks after the dastardly Pulwama attack, which left over 40 CRPF jawans martyred, the Muslims and Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district have joined hands to restore an 80-year-old temple in Achan village. The village is a mere 12 km away from the area where the attack took place.
A heartwarming gesture
This goodwill gesture stands as an example of peace and brotherhood for all the hate-mongers who have used the Pulwama attack as an opportunity to launch a defensive against Muslims in India. Reportedly, the temple, which is adjacent to a local mosque, has not been in use since the 1990s when the Kashmiri Hindus migrated from there since the militancy.
According to NDTV, the restoration work had been stopped following the attack and the resultant tension. However, on the occasion of Maha Shivratri, work at the defunct temple began in full swing. While Muslims served traditional Kashmiri Kahwa tea to everyone at the temple, locals said that they would like to hear the temple’s bells with calls of Azaan.
Mohammad Younis, a resident, told NDTV, “Our heartfelt desire is that same old times return which was here 30 years ago when temple bells ring here and on other the side call of Azaan from mosque.”
News18 reported that the temple which is in a six canal compound is being refurbished. An idol will be placed inside the temple as well. Bhushan Lal, who is supervising the works with local Muslim Auqaf Trust said that the locals have been trying to bring back the glory days when hundreds would visit the temple to listen to hymns. He added that once the restoration work of the 80-year-old temple is completed, they would invite locals from the neighbourhood to hold prayers.
Restoration work on the way
Villagers have reportedly said that the restoration work of the dilapidated temple started after the Pandit family approached the Masjid Auqaf committee for help. Lal said their Muslim brothers are helping them because they respect the temple. Mohammad Maqbool, who is looking after the temple’s restoration work has said, “Our effort to restore this temple is because our Pandit brothers should not feel that their temple is incomplete.” Reportedly, the local Muslims wanted the Pandit family to worship at the temple on Monday, March 4, on the auspicious occasion of Shivratri but had to delay the date considering bad weather and Indo-Pak tensions.
Nazir Mir, chairman of the Auqaf, who had earlier written to the administration to update them about the overall development of the village had said that around Rs 4 lakhs were set aside for the purposes of temple repair. “We hope the village becomes an example for others to follow suit. Kashmiryat will triumph eventually, despite the vagaries of time,” he added.
After the Pulwama attack, news of Hindus attacking Kashmiri Muslims all over the country had been making headlines. From harassment, intimidation to physical violence forced many of them to flee from their respective locations with social media only added fuel to the fire. However, amidst such trying times, heartfelt stories of communal harmony from Kashmir perhaps restores our faith in humanity and the ability of humans.
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