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1,200-Year-Old Hindu Temple In Pakistan To Be Restored After Long Court Battle

In Pakistan’s
Lahore, a 1,200-year-old Hindu temple will be restored after ‘illegal occupants’
were evicted from it following a long court fight, the federal body overseeing
minority worship places in the country said on Wednesday.

1,200-Year-Old Pakistan’s Hindu Temple To Be Restored After Long Court Battle
Representational Image/ Unsplash

The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) last month retrieved the possession of Valmiki Mandir (temple) situated near the famous Anarkali Bazaar Lahore from a Christian family.

Restored according
to ‘master plan’

ETPB
spokesperson Amir Hashmi told PTI that Valmiki temple will be restored in
accordance with a ‘master plan’ in the coming days.

Temple
Representational Image/ Unsplash

“Over 100
Hindus, some Sikh and Christian leaders today gathered at the Valmiki Temple.
Hindus performed their religious rituals and had lungar (food) for the first
time it was retrieved from the grabbers,” he said.
Besides Krishna
Temple, Valmiki Temple is the only functional temple in Lahore.

The Christian family, which claims to have converted to Hinduism, had been facilitating only the Valmiki caste Hindus for worship at the temple for the last two decades.

ETPB’s land

An ETPB
official said the temple’s land was transferred to the ETPB in the revenue
record, but the family in 2010-2011 claimed to be the owner of the property. Later
they filed a case in the civil court, Dawn Newspaper reported.

1,200-Year-Old Pakistan’s Hindu Temple To Be Restored After Long Court Battle
Representational Image Image/ Unsplash

He said besides
going into litigation, the family also made the temple only for the Valmiki
Hindus. This left the trust with no option but to fight the case in court.

“This time, the court also reprimanded the petitioner for false claims,” the official added.

Temple suffered
damage in past

In 1992, in the
aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in India, an angry mob wielding
weapons stormed into the Valmiki Temple. It smashed the idols of Krishna and
Valmiki, broke utensils and crockery in the kitchen and seized the gold with
which the statues were embellished.

The temple was
demolished to rubble and the building was set on fire. The shops in the
neighbourhood also caught fire and it took days for the authorities to
extinguish the flames.

1,200-Year-Old Pakistan’s Hindu Temple To Be Restored After Long Court Battle
Representational Image/ Unsplash

 The ETPB spokesman
told Dawn newspaper that a one-man commission constituted by the Supreme Court
of Pakistan presented its recommendations to the government, stating that the
temple must be renovated to provide better workshop facilities to the Hindu
community.

But the ETPB, in the
wake of the litigation, was unable to start restoration work at the temple
constructed on over 10 marla land worth millions in the heart of the city, the
spokesperson said.

The ETPB looks after the temples and land left over by Sikhs
and Hindus who migrated to India after the Partition. It oversees 200 gurdwaras
and 150 temples across Pakistan.

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