BJP to reintroduce temple Bill with amendments

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Old 22-Sep-2015
Post BJP to reintroduce temple Bill with amendments

After opposing the Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Religious Places (Management and Regulation) Bill in the Legislative Assembly when in the opposition, the BJP wants to reintroduce the Bill with amendments for its passage in the Assembly.
Sources said the BJP had initiated talks with Kashmiri Pandits groups, Dharmarth Trust and other stakeholders to make suitable amendments, which would be acceptable to all parties concerned.
Though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which holds the Law and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio in the present government in Jammu and Kashmir, is silent on the issue, fearing it may lead to a fresh controversy, the BJP wants to retable the Bill in the upcoming session of the legislature, starting on October 3.
Recently, BJP MLC Surinder Ambardar wrote to Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Syed Basharat Bukhari to retable the Bill. The Bill was referred to a select committee by Mir Saifullah, former Law Minister in the National Conference-Congress government, in March 2014, after MLAs cutting across party lines (BJP, Congress, Panthers Party and National Conference) opposed the Bill in its present form.
“We will talk to all stakeholders before the Bill is introduced again so that everyone is taken on board. The BJP was never against its passage but concerns of all people need to be addressed. The shrines in the Kashmir valley belonging to the Hindu community are in a dilapidated condition,” said Ambardar.
The main contention is the demand of Dharmarth Trust, Ramakrishana Mission, Baba Jamuna Dass Rani Mandir, Bairagi Trust and some other organisations to exclude temples and shrine managed by them from the purview of the Bill.
Displaced Kashmiri Pandits are seeking a uniform body to bring all Hindu shrines in the Valley under it.
“The passage of the Bill in its present form will be great injustice as we ran several temples even at the peak of militancy when the entire minority community got displaced due to threat of insurgents. We were never consulted despite the fact that several shrines are under our care and are functioning properly,” said Shashi Khajuria, secretary, Dharmarth.
As the Leader of the Opposition during the the PDP-Congress coalition government, NC leader Abdul Rahim Rather first brought a private member’s Bill in 2006. It was introduced for passage in 2009 and is being deferred since then.

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