New Delhi: With Article 370 abrogated in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP now wants to make the region a hub of religious tourism. The party has chalked out a plan, and senior party leader and J&K election in-charge Avinash Khanna has written to Governor Satya Pal Malik and Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel in this regard.
The party wants the government to carry out restoration work on temples that are in bad shape and require upkeep. According to a senior BJP leader, party cadres in J&K have also been asked to make a list of all the places that can be developed for the purpose of religious tourism.
In his letter, Khanna has sought help from the government to develop historical and religious sites such as “Shudh Mahadev” and “Mantalai” in Chenani tehsil of Udhampur district.
“I have received a representation from Shrimad Jagatguru Shankaracharya Anant Ji, Swami Amritanand Dev Tirath and local committee, Chanaini, Mantalai in which they have sought the help of Govt for the development of historical and religious places like ‘Shudh Mahadev’ and ‘Mantalai’. I have also personally visited these historical places that are largely visited by the devotees,” reads Khanna’s letter dated 20 August.
Delay in assembly elections
Khanna has asked for the government’s intervention to develop dharamshalas and sarais, proper construction of temples and adequate connectivity for devotees to visit the sites.
The J&K BJP has also been asked to lay the ground work for the assembly elections, which are likely to take place once the delimitation exercise is complete.
Even though it was speculated that elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held in October when Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand will go to polls, the delimitation exercise is likely to delay them further.
“Tourism, religious tourism, job creation and peace is what we are going to focus on. There are so many places in the state that not only provide tourism opportunity but will also allow us to preserve our history and culture. The state unit of the BJP will work towards it,” said a senior BJP leader.
Recently, the Vishva Hindu Parishad had urged the Narendra Modi government to rebuild all 435 temples that were “demolished by militants in Kashmir since 1990”. It had also asked the government to file criminal cases against those involved in the destruction of these temples.