NEW DELHI: Much to the delight of the treasury benches in Lok Sabha, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday raised the demolition of a large number of temples in Jammu & Kashmir and demanded an explanation from the Centre why it had provided security to separatist leaders who have been indulging in anti-India rhetoric.
Speaking on a resolution on rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants moved by BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab said at least 80 temples were missing from the list provided by the government. About 3.5 lakh Hindus had left the Valley after militancy and selective killing campaign began in 1989, he said.
Referring to data provided by the home secretary to a parliamentary sanding committee in 2009, Mahtab said there were 436 temples in Kashmir before 1989. “Temples intact were 266, damaged were 170 and temples renovated were 90. What happened to the remaining 80 temples there?” he asked.
“I would like to understand from this government because I believe this government is responsive and will answer to certain questions that are posed before this House,” Mahtab said.
BJP members heard Mahtab in rapt attention as he moved from the temple demolition issue to the rationale of providing security to separatist leaders.
“I would like to understand from the ministry of home affairs as to how much this government is spending for their (separatists) protection, not only when they move around in the Valley but also when they come to Delhi to meet the Pakistani high commissioner,” he said.
Mahtab went on to explain the Shia-Sunni divide that separates the two Kashmirs and mocked at the comments made by former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah who had recently said that Pakistan could keep PoK.
Questioning the justification of providing security to separatists, the BJD MP said, “How many such people are being provided protection and security by this government who, day in and day out, the moment they get a chance, speak against this nation? Yet, we provide them protection.
“Who are the people who threatened Kashmiri Pandits? Who are those people who killed the other minority community people in Pulwama? Who are those people who are, even today, threatening others that if they come they will not be safe? One may say, as was being mentioned by Prof Saugata Roy, they are the fifth columnist; they are supporters of Pakistan. But what does our government do? They claim that they are political activists.”