Hindu temple razed, prompting protests
More than 2,000 gather after government action
Hindus are demanding that a temple razed by government authorities yesterday be rebuilt.
More than 2,000 Hindus gathered at the Karachi Press Club hours after the 50-year-old Shree Ramapir temple was demolished in what officials said was an anti-encroachment operation.
“Our collection boxes and jewelry of statues is gone; three expensive statues are missing. We could not sleep after the tragedy," said Pandit Mukesh Kumar Jadia, a local resident.
Zeenat Ahmed, a director for the government department overseeing military lands and cantonments, denied that any religious place was demolished. He said the demolition was conducted to vacate illegal occupants from a military station area.
Locals continue to worship at the site where they have erected statues of Hindu deities amid heaps of bricks. According to Ramesh Kumar, a patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, the site was partially destroyed by “influential armed men” in 2008.
“We repaired the front portion later, but there is nothing we can do this time,” he said.
The building was razed after the owner of a neighboring plot claimed it was encroaching on his property. Kumar says the temple was at least 4.8 meters from the property line. Three houses were locals say the temple caretakers lived were also demolished.
“The temples are disappearing from the country like our population,” he said. “We hope to contest the upcoming general elections through reserved seats and change the way things are going at present. This is depressing.”
Around 1,600 Hindu families have reportedly left the country in the last two years. Hindus are the largest minority in Pakistan, with 4.2 million people.
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