Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Outrage, Protests In Jammu's Doda Over Temple Vandalism; Police Registers FIR, Forms SIT

The temple is situated at the height of 17,400-feet in snow-bound areas of Doda district in Jammu region.

A protest being held against alleged vandalism at a temple in Jammu region's Doda district
A protest being held against alleged vandalism at a temple in Jammu region's Doda district Twitter/Omi Khajuria

Protests erupted after vandalism was reported at Lord Vasuki Nag temple in Jammu region's Doda district, resulting in a complete shutdown by shopkeepers in the district and condemnation across party lines, leading to the Jammu and Kashmir Police forming a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case.  

"There is some damage to the main door and an attempt was also made to break the donation box, while the robes of one of the deities was found on ground," an officer told PTI, asking not to be named.  

Doda SSP Abdul Qayoom told PTI, "A six-member team headed by Superintendent of Police (operations), Raj Kumar, has been constituted to probe the alleged vandalism at the temple and asked to submit its report within the shortest possible time." 

Pictures of alleged vandalism at the temple, situated at 17,400 feet Kailash Kund, surfaced on social media, said officials.

"A police team has already been deputed in the snow-bound area to ascertain the facts," a senior police official said.

An FIR has been registered at the Bhaderwah Police Station for a thorough probe, an officer said, requesting people to maintain peace and law and order. The officer said additional deployment has been made in sensitive areas as a precautionary measure in view of the protests in parts of the district.

Shopkeepers observed a complete shutdown in response to a strike call given by Virendra Razdan, president of Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha in Bhaderwah. Razdan also led a protest to demand the identification of culprits and stern action against them.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party condemned the alleged vandalism.

"We strongly condemned what has happened in Temple of Sh. Vasuki Naag at Kailash Kund in Bhaderwah. I appeal to all people Bhaderwah and Doda to maintain peace. Strict action should be taken against the Culprits," said Fairoz Khan, State Working President Indian Youth Congress J&K.

The party cautioned people to be aware of the designs of "enemies of peace" and maintain harmony. 

The BJP held a protest in Doda and alleged the act is aimed at disturbing communal harmony.

"This is done to hamper the communal harmony of the region. Requested DC and SSP doda to initiate a time-bound enquiry and exemplary punishment to the culprits," said Omi Khajuria, BJP Kisan Morcha's J&K unit chief on Twitter.

After the assurance of Doda DC Vikas Sharma and SSP Abdul Qayoom, protesters at Bhadarwah who had blocked roads at several places including Domail, Sarol Bagh, Bhala, Seri Bazar, Gupt Ganga and Bhalra, suspended the stir after which shops were opened and traffic started plying normally.

The residents of Bhaderwah who condemned the act said the "heinous crime is aimed at vitiating the otherwise peaceful atmosphere and communal harmony in the district".

Sajid Mir, Sarpanch Kursari Panchayat said, "We support the demand for a thorough probe to identify the culprits who have hurt the sentiments of a community and tried to trigger communal divide. They should be brought to book as we would not let anyone vitiate the peaceful atmosphere and communal harmony we are maintaining since ages."

J&K president of Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Purushottam Dadhichi also led a protest in Jammu against the incident and demanded action against the culprits.

"We have gathered here to protest the vandalism at the revered Vasuki Nag temple in Bhaderwah. This is the handiwork of mischievous elements who wanted to create a rift in the society," he said, demanding stern action against the culprits. 

(With PTI inputs)