Two weeks ago, on Ishq-e-Rasool Day, a mob stormed the Shri Krishna Bhagwan temple in Gulshan-e-Maymar and vandalised it as its horrorstruck caretaker looked on helplessly. Today, smashed idols are still strewn all over the floor. They have deliberately not cleaned up.
“We want our leaders to see the mess. Nobody from our community - not even an elder - is helping us rebuild the temple,” said Bhagwandas, a social activist.
On September 21, around 150 protesters armed with sticks and stones barged into the temple and smashed six sculptures of Hindu gods. They also ripped out pages from holy books and looted nearby houses, snatching jewelry from and hurling stones at the people inside. Around nine rioters were booked in a case registered under section 295-A of the blasphemy law, but the police has yet to arrest any of them.
So far Hindu leaders have yet to visit the temple. No elected representative from the minority group has visited the area either. The excise and taxation minister, Mukesh Chawla, who recently held press conferences to deny the migration of frustrated Pakistani Hindus to India, is waiting for an inquiry report expected by Monday.
MPA Pitanber Sewani said that he was planning to visit the temple soon and will meet people who were injured. He promised that if the minorities ministry does not step up to rebuild the temple, he will use his own development funds.
In the current fiscal year, every parliamentarian will receive between Rs60 million and Rs 80 million as development funds. This money, however, is hardly spent on religious minorities. Mangla Sharma, a member of the Pakistan Hindu Council, the largest Hindu representative body in the country, said that it doesn’t want to highlight the issue yet. “If we discuss the temple’s destruction, we might invite the ire of extremists, who might attack other temples,” he cautioned.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2012.
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