Save Sharda Committee Kashmir has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue of encroachment by the Pakistan Army at the revered Sharda Peeth site located in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) along the Line of Control (LoC).
In a letter penned to Prime Minister Modi and the Ministry of External Affairs, the Save Sharda committee has drawn PM Modi's "attention to the setting up of a Coffee Home by Pakistan Army and demolition of boundary wall of our revered Sharda Peeth, amounting to encroachment."
"Our civil society across LoC frequently visit this religious and heritage site and looking at the dilapidated condition and poor maintenance of the complex including demolition of boundary wall, we are feeling anguished and dejected," the letter read.
Ravinder Pandita, the founder of Save Sharda Committee, has in the letter requested PM Modi to "Take necessary steps to convey to Pakistan in strongest terms to ensure proper maintenance of this peeth - the highest seat of learning and one time a university, and stop encroachments of the complex, particularly in the wake of Supreme court AJK judgement dated 03.01.2018 and DG archaeology & Tourism circular No: 9973-80 dated 31.12.2018 (enclosed herewith)."
Ravinder Pandita said: "This is in gross violation of the Supreme Court PoK's judgment dated January 3, 2018, in favour of the committee regarding encroachment of Sharda Peeth. This action by the Pakistan army has hurt the sentiments of crores of Sharda Followers especially J&K Hindus."
Previously, Mohammad Amir Rashid, president of Dara Shikoh Foundation also wrote to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) over Pakistan damaging the walls of the cultural heritage site 'Sharda Peeth'.
The Dara Shikoh Foundation on November 27 wrote to the Director General of UNESCO detailing the damage to walls of Sharda Peeth for the expansion of a coffee house for Pakistani soldiers inside PoK.
"We have written a letter to the Director General of UNESCO, which has recently given the place of Vice chair to Pakistan. Sharda Peeth was declared a cultural heritage, yet the Pakistani government has deliberately damaged some walls of Sharda Peeth for the expansion of a coffee house being built for Pakistani soldiers inside POK," President of the Dara Shikoh Foundation, Mohammad Amir Rashid wrote.
"While there is also a court order that it has to preserve the cultural heritage, despite that, the Pakistani army deliberately hurt the sentiments of the Indian people and especially the beliefs of the Hindu people across the country on the anniversary of 26/11," the letter read.
In his letter to UNESCO, the president of the Dara Shikoh Foundation also mentioned about the systematic damage of another temple in PoK.
Sharada Peeth is a ruined Hindu temple and ancient centre of learning located in the Neelum Valley of PoK. It is situated in the valley of Mount Harmukh, believed by Kashmiri Pandits to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
According to Save Sharda Committee Kashmir, the reconstruction of Maa Sharda's temple in Kupwara is a necessary and important step in the direction of the discovery of Sharda civilisation and the promotion of Sharda script.
Sharada Peeth is considered as one of the three holiest sites of pilgrimage for Kashmiri Pandits, alongside the Martand Sun Temple and the Amarnath Temple. (ANI)