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J-K: Muslim family donates land for approach road to ancient temple

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Reasi/Jammu, May 13 (PTI) Setting an example of communal harmony, a Muslim family has donated six kanals of their cultivable land for construction of an approach road to an ancient temple in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Ghulam Rasool, one of the four brothers in the family, said their decision to voluntarily hand over the land for constructing road for the Gupt Kashi Gauri Shankar temple was warmly welcomed by both the communities.

“We have been living together in peace and brotherhood for centuries… It is our responsibility to understand each other’s compulsions, extend support and always maintain brotherhood for progress and development of our country,” Rasool, a former deputy sarpanch, said.

Located at a distance of 10 km from the Reasi district headquarters, the Shiv temple -- known as Chhota Kashi -- at the Kashi Patta village was built by Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh on the banks of the Chenab river in the eighteenth century. A cremation ground is also present within the temple complex.

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The only approach leading to the temple was a trek passing along a stream through the fields. Besides Rasool’s family, several other Hindu families also donated their land for the construction of the road.

“Some years back, I saw a devotee returning without paying obeisance at the temple due to the overflowing stream during monsoon. I felt very bad and decided to do something to ensure a proper road to the temple,” Rasool, who worked in a local court for over 15 years, told PTI.

He said even as nobody from the temple management or the Hindu community approached them, he discussed the issue within the family and they voluntarily decided to give a portion of their land for the construction of the road a few years ago.

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“We wished to keep it a secret but somehow people recently came to know and shared the information on social media. I am happy to note that everyone, especially the people from our community, lauded our decision,” Rasool said, adding that many influential Muslim leaders also called him to congratulate the family.

He said he has learnt a lot from lawyers Kuldeep Kumar and Madhav Lal Nanda, with whom he had worked in the court for years together.

“We were like a family, having a lot of concern for each other... Hindu-Muslim unity is the identity of Jammu and Kashmir, which needs to be protected for eternity. I am proud of our brotherly relations with Hindu neighbours,” he said. Rahul Kumar, a local resident, said the community is all praise for the Muslim family for their generosity, which paved the way for the construction of the road.

“Half of the approximately 1200 meter long road to the temple from the main road has been completed,” he said, expressing hope that the rest of the road will be macadamised by the administration on priority. PTI COR/TAS TAS MNK MNK

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