A historic Hindu temple in Pakistan's garrison city of Rawalpindi is facing demolition to make way for barracks for soldiers, outraging the minority community in the country.
The pre-partition temple along with a Hindu graveyard and 53 single-room houses could be demolished as authorities are planning to construct barracks for soldiers. Built in 1935, Maharishi Walmeck Sawami Jee Temple popularly known as Balaknash Temple is located at Gracy Lines of Chaklala, which falls in the municipal jurisdiction of military-managed Rawalpindi Cantonment Board.
The Hindu community was informed on August 12 that the temple and a Hindu graveyard will be demolished, following which a petition was filed against the move in a court, which stayed the planned demolition on Thursday.
The decision has caused anger among the Hindus as the temple is centre of religious activities of the small community in Rawalpindi. A Hindu resident, Ashok Chand, told media that the temple and the houses were legally built before partition and there was no reason to demolish them.
"We refused to go to India and decided to stay in Jinnah's Pakistan, now our homes and sacred temple are being bulldozed. Are not we Pakistanis or at least humans?" he said.
The local Hindus living there are being offered alternative accommodation but it is not yet clear whether a new temple will be built for them. About 60 Hindu families live in Rawalpindi which had a thriving Hindu population before the partition.
Image: The site of a temple which was demolished by a builder in Pakistan. Image used for representation.