J&K govt fails to protect Hindu minority properties in Kashmir

The Jammu and Kashmir administration revenue department has failed to protect the temple properties and has been unable to vacate the temple properties premises which have been leased out by the respective managements illegally for personal favours, said Satish Mahaldar, Chairman, Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants.

In the absence of Kashmiri Pandit community in the valley, a few selective people in connivance with the J&K government officials operated defunct Temple Trusts in between 1989 till 2022 and sold out or leased out temple properties.

Despite the J&K High Court orders it is surprising how non-resident Kashmiri migrants are allowed to sell the temple properties when the respective district deputy commissioners (J&K government) are the custodians of all migrant properties.

The J&K government is unable to retrieve the sold over temple properties despite The Jammu and Kashmir Migrant Immovable Property Act, 1997 is in place.

Mahaldar said the J&K government has not been able to take any action against these Defunct trusts/ societies.

“We feel suspicious that the J&K government is protecting its employees who are involved in selling temple properties for a long time,” he added.

“We request Honourable Lt. Governor that an SIT probe be ordered immediately and the government officials should also be identified who in connivance with a selective group of people operated defunct temple trusts in between 1989 – 2022 and sold out / leased out temple properties in Kashmir illegally,” Mahaldar said.

The defunct temple Trusts and societies had failed to comply with statutory compliance laid down by the J&K state government since inception. The defunct temples trust have not submitted any audited balance sheets, minutes of meetings nor have conducted any elections in the presence of the election officers deputed by registrar of societies from time to time, he added.

Mahaldar has asked the Lt. Governor to intervene and ensure all sold/ leased/ rented temple land is retrieved as per the high court orders / on Distress Sales) Act, 1997.

“We request the J&K administration to immediately take action against all non-residents who are not living in Kashmir since the last 32 years and have self-created Management trust of temples/ societies in various districts of Kashmir valley and are collecting money from the public,” Mahaldar said.

Mahaldar has asked the J&K administration that all bank accounts for all defunct temple trusts / societies should be seized until a new governing body is created for the respective temples under the observation of the deputy commissioner/ Registrar of societies .

“We fear money collected illegally by the defunct societies/ temple trusts is being used towards illegal activities which can harm the national interests,” he added.

Mahaldar said there are more than 100 defunct temple trusts / societies operating illegally within the valley of Kashmir and the complete list has been handed over to the J&K administration for necessary action.

Since the last eight months no action has been taken by the Jammu and Kashmir administration towards the retrieval of temple properties sold illegally.

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