The shrine is called by Lonely Planet, as the “Jesus Tomb” . There are some caveats about blasphemy, but is marked as a must-visit tourist spot in the Valley.
Caretaker Amin said some local traders circulated these “lies” thinking it would be good for business. “They thought it could become a tourist hub after all these years of violence.” He said after the shrine made it to the Lonely Planet, too many people, often rowdy, started coming in. One of the tourists damaged the tomb and took the broken piece home as a souvenir.
Rozabal is not the only story linking Jesus to Kashmir. It is said that he also visited a Buddhist monastery, the ruins of which are near Srinagar. The stories of Jesus in India date back to the 19th century and find mention in a plethora of texts by scholars of varied persuasions — Islamic, Buddhist and Christian. In fact, it is believed that during his missing years (between 12 and 30), unmentioned in the Gospels, Jesus was in India and picked up Buddhist ideas.
Amin said the Caretakers’ Committee has decided to convene a religious leaders’ meeting to discuss the issue. But Olsson insists that there’s nothing sacrilegious about her DNA project. “It’s routinely done around the world. From Egyptian mummies to the Christian Saint Luke, people are using this scientific tool to help study ancient history,’’ she said in an email interview to TOI-Crest from New York. “The DNA from Rozabal will tell us a lot about history,” she went on to say. “First, who is Yuz(a) Asaf? We’ll never know until archaeologists are allowed to examine the artefacts and the tomb.”
Olsson refuted allegations that she had attempted to remove anything from the tomb, or dug it up. “I can’t imagine who started those rumours or why,” she said and maintained that the belief that there is a Muslim saint in the same tomb is untrue. “The tomb predates Islam and could never be a Muslim tomb.”