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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Historical Hindu temple reopens after 60 yrs in northwest Pak

Oct 31, 2011, 04.03PM IST
ISLAMABADL: Hindus celebrated Diwali at a historic 160-year-old temple at Peshawar in northwest Pakistan after it was reopened to the minority community after six decades on a court's orders.

Scores of Hindus, including women and children, visited the Goraknath temple at Gor Khatri, which was reopened after Phool Wati, the daughter of the shrine's cleric, petitioned the Peshawar High Court.

Children and youths wearing colourful clothes were part of the gathering. The children burst crackers while the youths sang bhajans and danced.

Phool Wati and her son Kaka Ram have claimed that the temple, which has been controlled in past decades by the police, Evacuee Property Trust Board and the provincial archaeology department, belongs to their family.

Though a two-judge bench of the High Court ruled last month that Phool Wati had failed to provide evidence of her family's ownership of the temple, it directed authorities to reopen the shrine for religious purposes.

The court observed that stopping religious activities at a place of worship was against all laws.

Kamla Rani, the daughter of Phool Wati, was grateful to the authorities for reopening the temple.

"I am very happy that my mother, though very old, fought a legal battle to reopen this temple for Hindu worshippers," she told the media.

She said she had good relations with Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims in her neighbourhood. "I don't feel that I am different from others living in Peshawar."

Noting that the temple was reopened due to the joint efforts of the Hindu community, Kamla Rani said: "You can't imagine how happy we feel today."

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, writer and a thinker committed to cohesives societies and presents pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

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