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Terror and encroachment endanger Kashmir's Hindu Buddhist monuments

Unless immediate steps are taken to keep these monuments maintained at least at a reasonable level, we will see these monuments destroyed and vanish, Tarun Vijay warned.

Terror and encroachment endanger Kashmir's Hindu Buddhist monuments-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 26, 2021, 1:47 PM IST
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Srinagar: Terrorism has not only taken a toll on human lives in Kashmir but has also impacted Hindu Buddhist temples and monuments badly, BJP leader and National Monuments Authority chairman Tarun Vijay said after a detailed survey of important Hindu Buddhist monuments in the Kashmir Valley, which was carried out for the first time under Narendra Modi government.

Tarun Vijay, chairman of the NMA said, “Terrorism has not only taken the toll on human lives of Kashmir but has also impacted Hindu Buddhist temples and monuments badly. Unless immediate steps are taken to keep these monuments maintained at least at a reasonable level, we will see these monuments destroyed and vanish."

Though wheelchair-bound, Vijay took an extensive tour of the Hindu and Buddhist temples and monuments in Rainawari, Martand Temple ruins, Awantipora, Harvan Buddhist site, Parihaspura, Pattan -- the Naranag group of temples and other sites in Srinagar, including the Shri Pratap Singh Museum. 

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Vijay appreciated the efforts of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who, he said, had infused new enthusiasm among officers to protect heritage and started a new campaign to ensure the protection of culture and heritage in Jammu and Kashmir. Also, Srinagar DC Aizaz Bhatt has begun renovation of Vicharnag Temple.

He said that special certificates of honour will be given to the central and ASI state officers who have worked hard despite several challenges, including lack of funds and manpower. He added that more than 19 cases of encroachment and violation of laws have been registered by the ASI against the encroachers in Naranag alone. There also have been several other cases of encroachments around other important Hindu Buddhist monuments, he added.

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Rainawari’s ancient Vitaal Bhairav Temple was burnt and destroyed but has not been listed either in the state or central ASI list. Anti-national slogans can be seen written on the gates of this temple. 

The NMA chairman further stated that he was drafting a plan for the resurrection of Martand Temple and declaring three major ancient sites as UNESCO world heritage monuments. He slammed the state ASI for having no director or deputy director appointed and the grand SPS Museum having no AC room warming facility, not to mention the lack of curators.

Not a single state protected monument in Jammu and Kashmir region has a security person or a guard for the upkeep of the monuments, he noted, hoping that the Union Territory and Centre will revive these projects with an approved budget.

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