The minority Hindu community in Pakistan is struggling to protect its temples and the land around them from the land mafia, a media report said on Wednesday. Most of the Hindu inhabitants migrated to India at the time of partition, leaving behind a number of properties and places of worship.
“These properties have been up for grabs. Some allege that locals forged documents in order to occupy land around temples and construct markets. These temples are located in areas where the value of land is very high. This acts as a magnet for the land mafia,” the Express Tribune daily reported.
“No temple here exists that has been spared by land grabbers,” claims Amarnath, a resident of Kirtarpura. The helpless community can do nothing to protect the dilapidated and plundered buildings, the report said. For around 5,000 Hindus living in Rawalpindi, Krishna Mandir is the only place of worship left.
The temple is built on a small plot which is not enough to accommodate the community members during religious ceremonies. “But the fact that this temple remains is also nothing short of an achievement. There was a time when its future was also bleak and even today’s there are challenges to its daily existence,” the daily said.
The community members believe that the land mafia attacked temples around which Muslim families were living so that the families would vacate the land and the land grabbers could take over, considering the commercial value. Some local politicians led mobs and attacked temples, the report said.
“There is a perception that the Hindus (who migrated) had buried their wealth in these temples. Temples on the outskirts of the city were dug but when they found nothing, they destroyed the statues and defaced the statues,” a community member said.
[Press Trust of India]