June 10, 2023

Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday virtually inaugurated the Mata Sharda Devi temple near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, saying the abrogation of Article 370 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking the Union Territory back to its old traditions, culture and the “Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb”.

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“The Valley and Jammu are once again returning to their old traditions, civilization and Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb due to the establishment of peace in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 following the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

On August 5, 2019, the Centre abrogated Article 370 and 35(A) (special status) and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Shah said the inauguration of the temple is the beginning of a new era and that the architecture and construction of this temple has been done according to mythological scriptures under the aegis of Sharda Peeth.

“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.

The minister also said that the Sharda Peeth across the LoC has been a historical centre of India’s cultural, religious and educational heritage and assured to open it for devotees, on the lines of the Kartarpur Corridor to Pakistan that was opened in 2019 to enable Sikhs to offer prayers at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

The Sharda Peeth lies across the LoC, in Neelam Valley, some 56 km away from Teetwal in Kupwara or 160 km from Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. It became out of bounds for people on this side after Partition.

“Ravinder Pandita ji sought to open the Sharda Peeth pilgrimage on the lines of Kartarpur Corridor. The government will certainly work in this direction,” he said.

The Mata Sharda Devi temple was constructed following a campaign by Ravinder Pandita, president of Save Sharda Committee and a Kashmiri migrant.

On the inauguration of the temple, Pandita said: “This is a matter of happiness for all Kashmiris. The way people are enthusiastic and are celebrating, this has to be counted. This is not just a temple but heritage and Sharda civilization.”

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