Nexus involves big guns from different fields
SRINAGAR, Jan 20: Numerous cases of fraudulent transfers of temple properties in the Kashmir valley involving transactions of crores have surfaced exposing the rot in the revenue department, Mahants/trustees and brokers who use politics as a shield to insulate themselves from prosecution.
As per the documents in possession of The Kashmir Despatch, one such example is of the Bajrang Dev Baba Dharam Dass (BDBDD) Temple that is centrally located at Gadi Sathu Barbarshah area in Srinagar.
A huge tussle over the position of Mahant (Custodian of temple properties) of the BDBDD temple is in the court of law in Srinagar due to which consolidation and development of temple properties have sofar faced extreme stagnation.
The BDBDD temple lacks proper administration with an exception to the ritualistic services carried out by the priest inside the fortified temple.
Possessing various allied properties in different parts of the valley, this temple has regrettably witnessed encroachment cum confiscation of its land at the hands of some influential persons in nexus with the land mafia prevalent in the Srinagar city.
In April 2019, while taking the refuge under political disruption created by Pulwama attack; a well known businessman who holds a key position in FICCI J&K Council, executed a sale deed with a controversial politician who has hogged headlines for his alleged scandals and was even jailed for misappropriation of subsidies worth crores of rupees.
During this period, the duo along with other accomplices surreptitiously committed a fraud in broad daylight. A registered sale deed of land measuring four Kanals originally belonging to BDBDD temple was sold out in a Srinagar Court with deposition of registration fee amounting Rs 21, 900, 27.
The documents in possession of The Kashmir Despatch reveal that lessees in perpetuity sold the said piece of land along with a half of the building constructed on the said land.
Legally a lessee in case of a religious property or otherwise also that too in a case where the position of Mahantship is awaiting adjudication in the court cannot be sold by a lessee.
While talking with one of the temple authorities in Srinagar, it was conveyed to The Kashmir Despatch that none of the disputant priests were taken into confidence prior to the execution of this bogus sale deed.
The properties belonging to BDBDD temple in Kathi Darwaza, Brari Nambal, Ganderbal and Kani Pora also faces a deplorable negligence due to non existence of any temple properties management.
This laid opportunities bear open for the encroachers. From businessmen to prominent doctors/ owners of private nursing homes in Srinagar, land brokers to local politicians; the opportunistic elements are eyeing on temple properties that have been left unattended. The big question remains: Is anybody interested in protecting temple properties in Kashmir? (Series to be continued)