The Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has set up a committee to survey around 50,000 temples that were closed in Jammu and Kashmir. Informing about the move, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said that the central government has set up a committee to survey a number of closed schools in Kashmir valley and will reopen them. "Around 50,000 temples were closed over the years, of which some were destroyed, and idols were defaced. We have ordered a survey of such temples," the minister said while addressing a press conference in Bengaluru.
He, however, stopped short of saying that the survey has been ordered to reopen or re-build all the closed or destroyed temples. When asked about the existence of 50,000 temples in the Valley, the minister said: "Yes, there are 50,000 temples including villages…and almost all of them have been closed." When asked whether the government would re-open all of them, the minister while nodding his head said: "We are conducting a survey - how many temples were there, of which how many of them are open, how many of them have been destroyed. We are doing a survey of all schools, temples and cinema theatres that are not open and working."
In October 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir government run by Congress-NC had claimed that only 208 temples were damaged in the Valley. In a written reply to the state assembly in response to the question by a BJP MLA, the state government said that there were 438 temples in the Valley and out of these only "208 had been damaged over the years". It said that 57 temples were damaged in Srinagar, followed by Anantnag where 56 temples were damaged. However, the Kashmiri Pandits, who were driven out of their homes in the peak of militancy, claims that thousands of temples have been destroyed since the 1990s.
The BJP’s latest assertion comes on the back of the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre had claimed that a large section of people was being subjected to injustices due to the special status to the state which did not allow the schemes meant for the rest of India to be implemented in the state. Arguing that Article 370 was always a temporary measure, the Centre decided to divide the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — putting the region under the direct control of the central government.