Peshawar, January 19
Policemen were deployed on Tuesday to protect a Hindu temple in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, days after a leader of the minority community demanded protection for the place of worship fearing an attack by some mischievous elements who wanted to occupy its land.
The move comes after officials of the District Evacuee Property Trust Committee and District Revenue in a meeting with Deputy Commissioner, Abbotabad, on Tuesday held that Havelian temple in Abbottabad district is a historic religious structure and needs protection.
On the recommendations of the officials in the meeting, Deputy Commissioner Mughees Sanaullah directed deployment of police personnel at the temple site for its protection.
On Sunday, Hindu community leader Haroon Sarab Dayal said the temple in Havelian city is an old structure and now the land mafia is out to destroy this heritage.
“A handful of mischievous elements wanted to occupy the temple land in Havelian city to spread anarchy in the country,” he said.
The officials also held that the lease owner of the temple could neither demolish nor make any alterations in it or use the structure for any commercial purpose.
The officials informed the meeting that as per District Revenue Record, the temple existed at the land which was leased out to one Sardar Ramzan in 2013. Before that, the building was also used by other people for different purposes.
In December, a temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district was attacked by a mob after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decades-old building. The mob had demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure.
The attack on the temple in Terri village by members of radical Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group) drew strong condemnation from human rights activists and the minority Hindu community leaders, prompting the Supreme Court to order its reconstruction.
Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.
The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents. They often complain of harassment by the extremists. — PTI