Kashmiri Pandit body seeks SIT probe into ‘illegal’ sale and leasing of temple land

New Delhi: A Kashmiri Pandit organisation has sought an SIT probe into the sale and leasing of land of defunct temple trusts and demanded that those involved in the “illegal” work be brought to book.

Satish Mahaldar, Chairman, Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants, said, “The defunct temple Trusts/ societies had failed to comply with statutory compliance laid down by the J&K state government since inception. The defunct temple trusts have not submitted any audited balance sheets, minutes of meetings nor have conducted any elections in the presence of the election officers deputed by registrar of societies from time to time.”

The organisation said the Lt. Governor should intervene and ensure all sold/ leased/ rented temple lands are retrieved as per the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order — Distress Sales Act, 1997.

He alleged that despite repeated court orders, temple properties have been illegally given on lease. The Jammu and Kashmir administration and the revenue department have failed to protect the temple properties and have been unable to vacate the temple properties, which were leased out by the respective managements illegally for personnel favours.

In the absence of Kashmiri Pandit community in the valley, a few selective people in connivance with the J&K government officials operated defunct Temple Trusts in between 1989 till 2022 and sold out or leased out temple properties, he said.

“We request the J&K administration to immediately take action against all non-residents who are not living in Kashmir since the last 32 years and have self-created Management trust of temples/ societies in various districts of Kashmir valley and are collecting money from the public,” he said.

Mahaldar also demanded that all the bank accounts for all defunct temple trusts / societies should be seized until a new governing body is created for the respective temples under the observation of the deputy commissioner/ Registrar of societies.

He said there are more than 100 defunct temple trusts / societies operating illegally within the valley of Kashmir and a complete list has been handed over to the J&K administration for necessary action.

Since the last eight months no action has been taken by the Jammu and Kashmir administration towards the retrieval of temple properties sold illegally, he alleged.


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