Petition filed against demolition of Krishna Mandir at Lahore

via DNA published on June 15, 2006

LAHORE: Reacting strongly to the demolition of Krishna Mandir, the only functional Hindu temple in Lahore, a leading law company has filed a writ petition with the Lahore High Court under the Article 199 of the Constitution, seeking instructions for the builders to stop the construction of the commercial plaza and reconstruct the demolished temple in its original form.


 


The petition has been filed by Fawad Hussain, the chief executive of First Law Company and the nephew of a former Punjab Governor Altaf Hussain. While making the Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB) the main respondent in the case, the petitioner maintains that according to the Evacuee Board under Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) Act, 1975, the EPTB is duty bound to maintain the religious shrines and provide facilities for the pilgrims. But in utter disregard to its own statutory duties, the EPTB has demolished the Krishna temple situated in Sooha Bazar, Rang Mahal, Lahore by allowing a jeweller to construct a commercial plaza on the site of the temple.


 


The petitioner maintains that the respondent’s action is illegal, unconstitutional, reckless, outrageous, and without any lawful jurisdiction and those responsible should immediately be arrested and tried under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code which prohibits the demolition of the places of worship. The petition says the constitutional law of Pakistan provides safeguard to the rights of a man to profess, propagate, perform and practise any religion and to maintain and manage religious institutions.


 


In a related development, as a local photographer visited the site of the Hindu temple to take pictures of whatever was left of the temple, he was immediately surrounded by supporters of the developer. “Leave this place,” they told him.


 


“This is private property. We have invested millions of rupees. It has nothing to do with the EPTB. There never was a Hindu temple here. If you are looking for a temple, go look a little farther. May be you are able to find it out,” they told him sarcastically when he insisted on taking a picture of the remnants of the temple.


 


Advani, VHP condemn the demolition


 


NEW DELHI: Leader of Opposition L K Advani on Wednesday condemned the demolition of a Hindu temple in Lahore to make way for a commercial building in its place. Advani recalled that the Pakistani government had last year asked him to inaugurate a project for restoration of ancient temples in that country.


 


“I strongly condemn the demolition. This latest happening has naturally shocked millions in our country,” Advani said.


 


“The temple demolition in Lahore shows that the process aimed at improving relations between the two countries has petered out,” BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said.


 


The BJP leader cited the recent attacks and insisted that the “jehadi” elements were playing a dominant role in Pakistan. The VHP demanded termination of peace talks with Pakistan.

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