Police on Saturday registered a case after a temple was allegedly desecrated in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. Senior officials of the police and civil administration visited the Bargheshekha Bhagwati Mata Temple in the Mattan area of the south Kashmir district for an on-the-spot inquiry, they said.
Police have registered a case and the matter is being investigated, the officials said.
Anantnag Deputy Commissioner Piyush Singla said the culprits will be punished and no one will be allowed to harm social and communal harmony. "Such immoral and illegal acts will not be tolerated and the culprits will be penalised as per relevant provisions of the law. Nobody will be allowed to harm or disrupt the social and communal harmony in society," he said.
National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah condemned the incident and urged police to prosecute the culprits.
"Unacceptable. I strongly condemn this vandalism and urge the administration, especially @JmuKmrPolice police to identify the culprits so they can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he tweeted.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said she was pained by the vandalism.
"Pained & disturbed by reports of malicious damage & vandalism at the Mata temple in Mattan. Need of the hour is to reassure our pandit brethren. Request SSP Anantnag & DC Anantnag to look into the matter immediately," she said.
PDP leader Naeem Akhtar also condemned the incident.
"Condemn strongly! The persons responsible should be punished and the society helped to ensure such incidents dont recur," Akhtar said in a tweet.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone termed the incident deplorable.
"Reports of vandalism at an ancient temple in Mattan. This is utterly deplorable. And the actions of a fringe lunatic minority. These r some psychopaths who derive pleasure out of destructive actions," Lone said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of displaced Kashmiri Pandits held a protest over the issue. Led by M K Yogi, they came out of their houses in Jagti camp and took out a protest rally.
They raised anti-government slogans and demanded an immediate arrest of the culprits.
"If our temples are not protected, if our people are not being protected in valley, how will Kashmiri Pandits will return to their homes in Kashmir. The government has failed," Yogi told reporters.