6-member SIT to probe temple vandalism in Bhaderwah; FIR lodged

6-member SIT to probe temple vandalism in Bhaderwah; FIR lodged
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Bhaderwah/Jammu: The police on Monday constituted a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the alleged vandalism at a temple in Doda district here that sparked protests in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The police have already registered a case after pictures of the alleged vandalism at Lord Vasuki Nag temple, situated at 17,400 feet snow-bound Kailash Kund, surfaced on social media, they said.

"A six-member team headed by Superintendent of Police (operations), Raj Kumar, has been constituted to probe the alleged vandalism at the temple and asked to submit its report within the shortest possible time," SSP, Doda, Abdul Qayoom told PTI.

Appealing to the people to maintain peace and law and order, he said one of the police teams has reached the site and found all the main idols at the temple intact.

Another police officer said an FIR has been registered at the Bhaderwah police station for a thorough probe.

He said additional deployment has been made in sensitive areas as a precautionary measure in view of the protests in parts of the district, including Bhaderwah and Gandoh.

"There is some damage to the main door and an attempt was also made to break the donation box, while the robes of one of the deities was found on ground," the officer said, asking not to be named.

Shopkeepers observed a complete shutdown earlier in the day in response to a strike call given by Virendra Razdan, president of Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha in Bhaderwah.

Razdan also led a protest to demand the identification of culprits and stern action against them.

On the assurance of Deputy Commissioner, Doda, Vikas Sharma and SSP Qayoom, the protesters at Bhadarwah who had blocked roads at several places including Domail, Sarol Bagh, Bhala, Seri Bazar, Gupt Ganga and Bhalra, suspended the stir after which shops opened and traffic started plying normally.

The residents of Bhaderwah who condemned the act said the "heinous crime is aimed at vitiating the otherwise peaceful atmosphere and communal harmony in the district."

Sajid Mir, Sarpanch Kursari Panchayat said, "We support the demand for a thorough probe to identify the culprits who have hurt the sentiments of a community and tried to trigger communal divide.

"They should be brought to book as we would not let anyone vitiate the peaceful atmosphere and communal harmony we are maintaining since ages,"

J&K president of Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Purushottam Dadhichi also led a protest in Jammu against the incident and demanded action against the culprits.

"We have gathered here to protest the vandalism at the revered Vasuki Nag temple in Bhaderwah. This is the handiwork of mischievous elements who wanted to create a rift in the society," he said.

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who also hails from Bhaderwah town, strongly condemned the "mischievous act" of some "miscreant elements" and urged the local administration that the culprits should be brought to book immediately.

Azad also appealed to the people of Doda and Bhaderwah in particular to maintain peace and harmony and let the administration deal sternly with such elements who try to divide people and disturb peace and harmony in the region.

Jammu and Kashmir's Congress unit also expressed serious concern over the "mischievous act" done with a view to hurt religious sentiments and create hatred and trouble in the society.

"The government should identify the culprits and give them stern punishment," the party said in a statement.

The party cautioned people to be aware of the designs of "enemies of peace" and maintain harmony.

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