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Hindu Temples under Threat: Kashmiri Pandits urge Centre to protect Temples in valley

The concerns of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community seem to have been heightened by the disturbances that ensued in the valley following the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani

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A gathering of Kashmiri Pandits (1903). Image source: oldkashmirimages.blogspot.com
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  • Kashmiri Pandits have urged the centre to provide security to all Hindu temples and shrines in the Kashmir valley
  • The appeal was made by a Jammu-based organisation that manages the affairs of Zeashta Devi Mandir at Zeathyar in Srinagar
  • Zeashta Devi Mandir has become a refuge for the Pandits who take shelter in the temple whenever there is unrest in the region

Srinagar, July 23, 2016: In the wake of the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir, when the curfew is continuing for the 14th day, the Kashmiri Pandits have urged the centre to provide security to Hindu temples and religious places in the Kashmir valley.

The appeal was made by a Jammu-based organisation that manages the affairs of Zeashta Devi Mandir at Zeathyar in Srinagar. “We implore the Union government to provide security cover of central security forces to all the religious places and temples across the Kashmir Valley to protect them from attacks by the undesirable and anti-national elements,” Zeashta Devi Prabandakh Committee President, Bharat Bhushan Bhat said to World Hindu News.

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Bhat added that Zeashta Devi Mandir has become a refuge for the Pandits who take shelter in the temple whenever there is unrest in the region.

Kashmiri Pandits Image Source: Wikipedia
Kashmiri Pandits. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The concerns of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community seem to have been heightened by the disturbances that ensued in the valley following the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani. Numerous incidents of vandalization and desecration of Hindu temples by Muslim miscreants have added to their woes. These include the recent attack on Mata Ragniya temple in Loktipura (Anantnag District) and Mata Trisupsundri temple Devsar (Kulgam District) in Kashmir, and an Aap Shambu Temple in Roop Nagar, Jammu.

Earlier this month, over 400 Kashmiri Pandits had also taken out a protest march condemning the BJP-PDP government for being unable to protect their shrines.

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“Government should be proactive in dealing with such incidents if it has to send a positive signal among the Kashmiri Pandit community,” Bhat told the World Hindu News.

According to the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a valley-based Kashmiri Pandit organisation, 887 temples and religious places/shrines existed before 1990. 738 of them were destroyed by 1995, reported Newslaundry.com.

– by Ashee Sharma of NewsGram

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Refugee Communities Can Be Built By Tech Industries

Mikkelsen said the initiative was a win-win as it would also benefit companies by slashing costs.

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Companies could help refugees rebuild their lives by paying them to boost artificial intelligence (AI) using their phones and giving them digital skills, a tech nonprofit said Thursday.

REFUNITE has developed an app, LevelApp, which is being piloted in Uganda to allow people who have been uprooted by conflict to earn instant money by “training” algorithms for AI.

Wars, persecution and other violence have uprooted a record 68.5 million people, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

People forced to flee their homes lose their livelihoods and struggle to create a source of income, REFUNITE co-chief executive Chris Mikkelsen told the Trust Conference in London.

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“This provides refugees with a foothold in the global gig economy,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s two-day event, which focuses on a host of human rights issues.

$20 a day for AI work

A refugee in Uganda currently earning $1.25 a day doing basic tasks or menial jobs could make up to $20 a day doing simple AI labeling work on their phones, Mikkelsen said.

REFUNITE says the app could be particularly beneficial for women as the work can be done from the home and is more lucrative than traditional sources of income such as crafts.

The cash could enable refugees to buy livestock, educate children and access health care, leaving them less dependant on aid and helping them recover faster, according to Mikkelsen.

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The work would also allow them to build digital skills they could take with them when they returned home, REFUNITE says.

“This would give them the ability to rebuild a life … and the dignity of no longer having to rely solely on charity,” Mikkelsen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Teaching the machines

AI is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

It is being used in a vast array of products from driverless cars to agricultural robots that can identify and eradicate weeds and computers able to identify cancers.

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In order to “teach” machines to mimic human intelligence, people must repeatedly label images and other data until the algorithm can detect patterns without human intervention.

REFUNITE, based in California, is testing the app in Uganda where it has launched a pilot project involving 5,000 refugees, mainly form South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. It hopes to scale up to 25,000 refugees within two years.

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Mikkelsen said the initiative was a win-win as it would also benefit companies by slashing costs.

Another tech company, DeepBrain Chain, has committed to paying 200 refugees for a test period of six months, he said. (VOA)