Joint Press Release

Panun Kashmir (Dr. Agnishekhar), ASKPC (Hiralal Chatta), JK Nationalist Movement (Dr. K.N. Panidta), Kashmiri Pandit Conference (Kudan Kashmiri), and Kashmiri Hindu Conference (Pyarelal K KHCKPyarelal Kaul Budgami):
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Reflecting on the situation arising out of J&K Assembly relegating the Bill for Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Temples to the Select Committee after it remained in limbo for over four years, the above mentioned representative organizations of internally displaced persons reiterate their demand for the passing of the bill and implore the government to prioritize its recall and reconsideration.  

We believe that the main reason to sabotage the bill is the unwillingness of opponents to strengthen the composite cultural heritage of Kashmir. This catalyzed NC-Congress coalition into play down the natural course of consummation of the bill after four years of deliberate deferment.

We have also noted with much distress that the visual positive impression given by many Assembly members whom our delegations met from time to time for interaction in this context is not compatible with their practical action on the floor of the House. The organizations, however, record their thanks to those in the Assembly who, despite several odds, spoke with fervour in support of the bill.

We believe that the Boards created for taking care of Mata Vaishno Devi and Shri Amarnath Ji shrines, also run by Trusts previously, provide legal and formal rationale for the government to move in the direction of meeting out the same treatment to the Hindu Shrines and Temples Bill in Kashmir. We denounce and shall resist tooth and nail any attempt of piecemeal treatment of the bill.

We would also like to recall the politico-historical dimension of the case by invoking the Doctrine of Lapse concept under which Trusts for shrines, endowments, dharmasthans. astans etc. lapse to their original caretakers once the dispensing regime seized to be in place, and was replaced by popular rule that changed the entire texture of social fabric in the State. When rulers become public men, social organizations run by them also become public property.

Sadly, the Assembly treated the bill casually. Through vindictive majoritarianism, it stonewalled the return of the displaced community to its homeland and resumption of cultural life. Reckless disservice has been done to Kashmirian ethos and cherished norms of coexistence stand severely jeopardized.

In the light of this compulsion, we, in a recent combined meet, sponsored and endorsed a call to the community organizations and members to stay away from socializing with the NC-Congress ruling structure until it conveys credible assurance that the bill will be retrieved expeditiously and passed. We denounce attempts by divisive and self-seeking elements trying to subvert the consensus resolve of the community by playing the running dog of regional/sub-regional oligarchs.  The community understand that firstly the decision has been taken at a crucial time and secondly we may have to mobilize wider state and national opinion in support of our cause.

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