Nandkishor Asthpan temple located at Seer Jagir village of the volatile Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district is a living example of brotherhood and communal harmony in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The temple has a history of communal harmony and brotherhood. Ahead of Pandit exodus when Pakistan based militant groups started a hate politics against the Pandits of Kashmir, the muslims and pandits of Seer jagir were seen living in a communal harmony.
“Before the onset of militancy, Pandits would sacrifice sheep and distribute its meat among the locals as part of the ritual in the temple and Muslims used to assist the Pandits brethren in celebrations. Those days it was a glaring example of brotherhood,” said Abdul Rehman, a local of Seer Jagir.
He however said that after the Kashmiri pandit exodus, the Kashmiri Muslims took proper care of the temple without letting anyone to damage the sanctity of the temple
“The temple is an example of our brotherhood. Nowadays whenever Pandits visit the place, we are the first ones to welcome them and make sure to be a part of their celebrations. It is our culture,” said another local, Irfan Ahmad.
He said that the enemies of peace are on a prowl to disturb the peace of valley, but the local Muslims won’t let them do it.
Few months later, the Kashmiri Pandits prayed at the temple and then were guests of their Muslims neighbours for the night.
Locals said that the temple was never locked, however the prayers were never performed here for the past two decades. Now with the return of Kashmiri pandits the prayers have started once again. Also the Kashmiri Muslims still take care of this temple and also participate on the occasions when Pandiths celebrate festivals.
The locals have even requested the local Kashmir Pandits of a safe return to their ancestral village and stick to their roots. They have appealed them to live among the Muslim community with the love and care they used to live earlier.