Karak temple row far from over

Unrest among Hindu community in Karak as construction of wall inside premises begins


Saadullah Khattak September 27, 2021
The temple complex in Haveli Bagh-e-Sardaran houses three temples and two gurdwaras. PHOTO: Express.

KARAK:

The Hindu temple in the historic town of Terri, Karak district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has been at the center of yet another controversy after the district administration started constructing a wall inside the premises.

Members of the Hindu community told The Express Tribune that a local cleric of JUI-F namely Hafiz Faizullah who runs a religious seminary near the temple had objected that the word ‘Mandir’ has been written on the newly constructed building instead of Samadhi and the Hindu community had also expanded the building.

He also objected to the construction of rooms to accommodate the pilgrims at the temple, saying that it would enlarge the temple which is against the agreement reached between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

“After this objection on the guidelines of the cleric and one of his local supporters, the district administration has started the construction of a boundary wall right on the premises of the temple in the name of security.

No amount of arguments could move the deputy commissioner and commissioner who are not willing to listen,” claimed a Hindu elder while talking to The Express Tribune, adding that even the advisor to the K-P chief minister on minority affairs Wazirzada was not willing to solve this problem fearing that this might irk Muslim community of the area.

It is pertinent to note that a mob led by a local cleric Maulana Sharifullah of JUI-F and others attacked the Hindu temple on December 30 last year in Karak and demolished it completely.

Read More: CII condemns attack on Hindu temple

An FIR was registered against several attackers who were arrested by police but one PTI MPA Ziaullah Bangash interfered and convinced the PTI government as well as the Hindu community to forgive the attackers.

Due to Bangash’s personal interest in the incident, an agreement reached between two groups in which the Muslim community allowed the reconstruction of the temple within the limits of ‘Sharia’.

Government has already announced the reconstruction of the building but it again provoked controversy when the authorities didn’t allow the expansion of the temple despite the fact that land had been acquired by the Hindu community before the attack.

The Hindu community also wanted the temple to be constructed of the original material used previously in the building including Burma Teak and Greek marble as government had not sanctioned enough funds.

The authorities, after consultations with local clerics, created many problems and two weeks ago suddenly started the construction of a wall inside the temple.

“We received notices from the session court for the hearing of the attack case and we appeared before the court and informed it that the agreement is not being honoured.

This could lead to the cancellation of the bails of all those involved in the attack. We have no option as the government is not listening to us,” said the Hindu elder.

A local resident and PTI leader Shafiq told The Express Tribune that only a few clerics were causing trouble.

“One of them is Hafiz Faizullah and other is Abdullah Shah. Abdullah Shah is the man who moved court against the temple before the attack when Hindu community refused to buy his land for expansion,” he said.

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