Safwat Zargar: In Kashmir, a temple reopens old schism within Pandit community – and shines light on BJP's politics

On February 16, a temple in Srinagar became the subject of national news in India. Several media outlets reported that the Sheetal Nath temple in Kralkhud locality had reopened after a period of 31 years, with special prayers held on the occasion of Basant Panchami. The reports claimed the temple dedicated to Shiva had remained shut since 1989 when an armed militancy against Indian rule had erupted in Jammu and Kashmir....

Less than two kilometers from the temple, Sanjay Tickoo laughed off Handoo’s claims. “It’s all lies,” he said. “This temple was reopened by us in 2010 and we held a havan at the temple in July 2011.” Tickoo, in his fifties, heads Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, a group that advocates on behalf of Kashmiri Pandits who stayed back in the valley during the 1990s. He lives in an old family home in Srinagar’s Barbar Shah locality, and until the Covid-19 pandemic struck, worked in an electronics company. “If you Google about the temple, you will find its reopening was covered by the media at that time as well,” Tickoo said. Press Trust of India report from 2010 credited the reopening to the temple – incidentally, on Basant Panchami that year – to the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti…

More posts by Sanjay Tickoo

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