Sameer Showkin Lone
Pulwama: This age old temple at Achan village, some 12 kms from Pulwama town, stands a symbol of mutual brotherhood. A Muslim populated village had a large number of Pandits who left during the 1990s, but many Pandit families stayed back.
These Pandits in the village are sharing a strong bond with Muslims and are seen shoulder to shoulder each other both during the happy and tough times.
“In mid nineties some misguided people tried to destroy the temple (mandir), but we fought back with swords and axes in hands and succeeded in defeating them. They tried everything and fired some bullets in air but we remained firm and saved the holy place”, said Ghulam Qadir, a local. He didn’t know who the men were.
There were some 30 Kashmiri Pandit families living at Achan. The 28 families have migrated to other parts of India during the armed struggle, he said.
“Whenever those other Pandit brothers visit their motherland we sit together and star recalling those days. They always tell that they propagate the message of that incident to others wherever they go and tell them the real symbol of brotherhood,” said Ghulam Nabi.
The temple is dedicated to Shri Jagan Nath Bairav. It is just a few meters away from the Jamia Masjid. The Pandit families who didn’t flee have constructed a boundary wall around 5 kanal area of temple land. The families were assisted by State Government and local Muslim community. There was a temple and two dharamshalas in the walled area of the shrine besides a fresh water spring near the temple.
“Unfortunately both the temple and dharamshalas were burnt during Chari Sharif shrine incident. The temple was constructed in 1946-47. It is said that an idol of the period of King Rinchan Shah was excavated from the sight while construction work was carried out in respect of the temple and the idol was handed over by the local Kashmiri Pandits to State Govt. authorities and the same is now pleasant treasure of Srinagar museum,” the locals say.