Taking notice of the demolition of over a century-old-temple in Soldier Bazaar, the Sindh government swung into action and vowed that it would not allow construction of any commercial building by razing even structure of a place of worship of the minority community.
On Saturday, the Hindu community said that the “builder mafia” had demolished its over 150-year-old Mari Mata Temple in Soldier Bazaar after two persons — Imran Hashmi and Rekha Bai — sold the property to a builder allegedly by using ‘fake documents’.
They alleged that the builder, for construction of a commercial building over the plot of the temple, demolished the structure late on Friday night with support of the area police.
While the provincial government contested the community’s claim about demolition of the temple, it ordered police and local administration to stop construction or demolition work at the piece of land that housed the century-old temple.
Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab told that the plot was owned by Hindu Panchayat and they had been involved to ascertain facts.
He said that the PPP believed in religious harmony and freedom and no one would be allowed to construct or raze even any structure of a place of worship of any minority community.
“[I] have checked. No such demolition of the Mandir has taken place and Mandir is still intact,” he tweeted. “The administration has intervened and Hindu Panchayat has been asked to assist police in ascertaining the true facts. I will keep everyone posted on this. The Pakistan Peoples Party stands with people of all communities.”
After an initial probe, the police said that Ms Rekha claimed to have owned the piece of land and the Hindu temple was built on a portion of the said plot. “And that too was moved from the said property to an adjacent small room several years ago,” said an official.
Under the fresh directives from the Sindh government, he said, the police were now coordinating with the Madrasi Hindu community of Karachi that had been managing the temple for the last several decades.
“No more activity [demolition or construction work] is going on at the site. The police would check records, determine the facts and countercheck the claims of both sides,” added the official.
Shri Ram Nath Mishra Mahraj of another very old nearby temple said that Mata temple had been built over 150 years ago.
“The mandir was under the management of the Madrasi Hindu community and since it was being said that it was a very old and dangerous structure that might topple any day, the mandir management after much pressure reluctantly but temporarily moved most of their deities to a small room near the storm water drain until they could carry out some renovation work there,” he said.