Rights group says cleric forcibly seized Shiva temple

via Gulf News published on October 18, 2006

Karachi: Butchers and a self-proclaimed Muslim cleric have encroached upon a historic Hindu temple and part of its compound, located in Karachi’s low-income locality of Lyari, said Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).


The cleric and his followers have seized the Shiv Mandir (temple), claiming that it used to be a mosque in the past, Iqbal Haider, general secretary of the HRCP, told Gulf News.


“They have erased the pictures of Hindu deities from the tiles of the temple, and forced Hindu worshippers to move to a small nearby room, where not more than two people can worship at a given time,” he said.


And as if it is not enough, the local butchers have occupied temple’s compound and are using it to slaughter animals, including cows – considered scared by Hindus, he said.


A number of Hindu families, which stayed on in Muslim-majority Pakistan, after the Partition of subcontinent live in the almost 100-year-old Pandavas Compound where this temple is located.




Residents said that butchers forcibly evicted more than two dozen families out of the compound and they continue to harass and intimidate the remaining ones who live here.


“We conducted our investigations regarding the controversy and have been shocked by the indifferent attitude of the authorities,” Haider said.


“In fact the self proclaimed cleric is a land grabber. The authorities have not tried to force him out of the compound nor to restore the sanctity of the temple,” he added.



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