In Karachi, the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Sindh province, a Hindu temple believed to have been built around 150 years ago was demolished after it was declared an old and dangerous building, shocking the Hindu community.
The Mari Mata temple in Karachi’s Soldier Bazaar was razed to the ground by bulldozers in the presence of police forces late on Friday night.
“They (authorities) did this early in the morning and we were not informed that this would happen,” said Ram Nath Mishra Maharaj, who maintains old Hindu temples in the area.
Mishra, caretaker of the nearby Sri Panch Mukhi Hanuman Mandir, said the bulldozers left the temple’s outer walls and main gate intact but destroyed the entire structure inside.
Built around 150 years ago, the temple had buried treasure beneath its courtyard, Mishra said.
He said the temple, which is 400 to 500 square meters in area, has been the target of land grabbers and developers for years now.
A senior police officer at the local police station said that the temple was demolished because the authorities had declared it a dangerous structure.
The temple was run by the Madrasi Hindu community of Karachi, which admitted that the building was too old and dangerous. The temple administration reluctantly but temporarily shifted most of the deities to a small room where any restoration work could be done, he added.
Ramesh, a Hindu community leader in the area, said the temple authorities had been under pressure to vacate the site for some time as the land had been sold to a developer who wanted to build a commercial building on the plot with forged documents.
The Hindu community requested the Pakistan-Hindu Council, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and the Sindh Inspector General of Police to look into the matter urgently.
Karachi has many ancient Hindu temples.
Hindus are the largest minority community in Pakistan.
The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province, where they share culture, tradition and language with the Muslim inhabitants.