NEW DELHI, Mar 22: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday e-inaugurated the Mata Sharda Devi temple near the Line of Control (LoC) in Karnah sector of Jammu and Kashmir, saying the abrogation of Article 370 is taking the Union Territory back to its old traditions, culture and the “Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb”.
Shah said the opening of the temple was the beginning of the new dawn and quest for reviving the Sharda culture.
“The Mata Sharda Mandir is being thrown open for devotees on the auspicious occasion of our new year. This is a good omen for the devotees across the country. Mata Sharda’s blessing will now remain over the whole country for the centuries to come,” he said in his speech.
The Union minister lamented that he could not be physically present at the place, but promised to visit the temple on his next tour to J and K.
“Whenever I will visit Jammu and Kashmir, I will start my visit by bowing at the Mata Sharda Devi temple,” he said.
Shah said this was the beginning of a new dawn which has been made possible by the blessings of Mata Sharda Devi and by the joint efforts of the people including civil society on both sides of the Line of Control.
“I convey my best wishes and gratitude to Save Sharda Committee president Ravinder Pandita for struggle over so many years which has now borne fruit…This step is not just the renovation of a temple, but the beginning of the quest for reviving Sharda culture,” he said.
Sharda Peeth was considered a centre of education in the Indian sub-continent once, he added.
Referring to Pandita’s demand for opening Sharda Peeth across the LoC on the lines of the Kartarpur corridor, the Union Home minister said the Centre “will surely make efforts on this and there is no doubt over it”.
“After Article 370 was abrogated due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts, peace has been established in Kashmir and it has taken the valley as well as Jammu back to its old traditions, culture and Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb,” he said.
J and K has taken initiatives in all sectors towards social and economic change, under which renovation work is going on at 123 selected places of religious significance, Shah said.
Many temples and Sufi places, including Ziyarat Shareef Reshimala, Ram Mandir, Safakadal temple, Haloti Gompa temple, Jagannath temple, are being renovated. A budget of Rs 65 crore has been allotted and 35 places will be renovated and revived in the first phase, he added.
Shah said 75 religious places and Sufi shrines were identified and 31 mega cultural events were organised and 20 cultural ‘utsavs’ were also organised in every district.
It has led to rebirth of our old heritage, he added.
Congratulating J and K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha for implementing all of PM Modi’s schemes on the ground in the UT, Shah said it was appreciable the way he has worked with passion.
“Under Modi’s leadership, Sinha has played a great role in bringing industrial investments to J-K. I congratulate and admire the J-K administration and its chief Manoj Sinha for this,” he said.
The Union minister also expressed gratitude to all the people of the civil society under Pandita’s leadership on both sides — PoJK as well as Jammu and Kashmir — for the opening of the temple in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
The ancient temple and its centre are being rebuilt with a view to revive the centuries-old pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth temple in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK).
Sharada Peeth — ”the seat of Sharada” — is the Kashmiri name for goddess Saraswati. It was one of the foremost ancient universities of the Indian subcontinent. (Agencies)