A temple of Mata Jawala ji, revered deity of Kashmiri Pandits, was on Saturday gutted in a fire caused by short-circuit in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, Police said.
Fire broke out in the ancient temple at Khrew, 17 kms from here, in the wee hours of on Saturday, damaging the place ofworship, the police said.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire was caused by short-circuit and spread within no time engulfing the wooden structure, causing damage, they said.
A unit of Rashtriya Rifles, stationed within the temple complex, joined the fire fighting operation which lasted for several hours, police said.
Terming it “shocking”, an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits on Saturday demanded a probe into the incident and an immediate reconstruction of the temple complex.
In a statement, All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) Chairman Vinod Pandit said the fire incident at the ancient temple, which is a religious shrine for Kashmiri Pandits, was shocking and demanded a thorough probe to find out the exact cause of the fire.
Pandit said since winter has already set in, immediate steps needed to be taken to prevent further damage to the temple.
APMCC national spokesperson King Bharati demanded an immediate reconstruction of the temple by the government sticking to the ancient architecture, to restore the faith of the community.
He said since the government has initiated steps for reconstruction following fire incidents at religious places in Kashmir Valley in recent past, it was its duty to initiate similar steps for the religious shrines of Kashmiri Pandits.
APMCC team led by Ravi Bhat, a social activist, which has been camping at the temple complex since morning said the temple needs to be reconstructed immediately to prevent further damage from snow as it would be impossible later on due to the height of the temple and the onset of winters.
Meanwhile, APMCC appealed to the government to take preventive steps over reports of “mafia encroaching upon the temple properties” in Habba Kadal and other places in Kashmir Valley.