‘Encroached by Pakistan Army’, a committee in PoK requests assistance from the government.
The Save Sharda Committee (SSC) here on Friday sought the help of the Indian government to remove the “encroachment by the Pakistan Army” on the Sharda temple premises in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), in order to pave way for its restoration.
Addressing a press conference at Press Club of Bangalore, SSC founder Ravinder Pandita alleged that the Pakistan army had encroached upon the dilapidated old Sharda temple premises and opened a coffee home there despite a court order in the committee’s favour.
Save Sharda Committee requests the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the issue of encroachments and removal of a coffee home recently erected on Sharda Peeth premises by the Pakistan army. This is despite the Supreme Court of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’s landmark judgment on January 3, 2023 pronounced in favour of Save Sharda Committee based on its representation seeking to stop encroachments, he said.
He added that civil society in PoK has also raised their voice in tandem with SSC on this issue as well as about the damages to the boundary wall. Pandita demanded that Sharda Peeth be reopened for devotees to go on pilgrimage.
“We will give a call for a march to the LoC and cross it if the coffee home is not removed by Pakistan authorities and its army. All Sharda supporters should be ready for this march in the near future,” he said.
He also called for Sharda Peeth to be declared a UNESCO heritage site.
The SSC founder told reporters that a website has been launched with the aim of providing complete information and a travel guide for pilgrims and tourists on the newly reconstructed Sharda temple at Teetwal and a Sikh gurudwara that stood at the same place before 1947 but was burnt down in tribal raids.
The construction of the new Sharda Yatra Temple at Teetwal in Kashmir, which was virtually inaugurated on March 22 by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, was supported by the Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Mutt in Karnataka.
Teetwal, where the temple has been built now, was the historic base camp for devotees who would go to Goddess Sharda’s shrine before partition, according to reports.
Nearly 10,000 pilgrims have visited the new Sharda Yatra temple and gurudwara since its inauguration in March this year.