A temple in Pakistan’s Sialkot region was opened for the first time since the partition between India and Pakistan in 1947. After 72 years, the Shawala Teja Singh temple, touted to be 1000-year old, was thrown opened again for worship. A grand program was organized in the temple according to Hindu traditions Wednesday before throwing it open for devotees.
There was a raging demand from the people of minority Hindu community living in Pakistan to open the temple. Pakistan has long been suppressing the fundamental rights of the minorities in its country and treating them as second class citizens. However, in opposition to its convention, the initiative to reopen the temple was taken by Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). Several Hindu leaders were present at the ceremony, including the President of the Hindu Development Community-Amarnath Randhawa, Dr. Munawwar Chand and Pandit Kashi Ram.
Shrine Secretary Syed Faraj Abbas said that for many years the Hindu community had been demanding that the temple be opened. After the initiative of EPTB, Prime Minister Imran Khan gave instructions to reopen the temple. Randhawa lauded the Imran Khan government for heeding to their demands.
The gentrification of the temple is in full swing. For this, ETPB has assigned Rs 50 lakh as the first installment. According to sources, idols of gods and goddesses will be brought here from India. Recently the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was installed in Lahore.
The situation of minorities in Pakistan is abysmal. Hindus and Christians in Pakistan live in a constant fear of state-administered repression against them. Hindu and Christian girls are forcibly married off to Muslim men and converted to Islam. The indignities meted out on them, sanctioned by Pakistan government, have forced many Hindus there to flee to India. Such Hindus live in abject poverty and dire situation in India’s capital-New Delhi.
After the abrogation of Article 370, Imran Khan went berserk in claiming that India has been discriminating against its minorities. However, data suggests that minorities have thrived in India whereas minorities in Pakistan since the partition have withered away. The notoriously draconian blasphemy cases are slapped against minorities in Pakistan, in order to subjugate them. The recent move by Imran Khan to renovate the Hindu temple may be aimed at dispelling his country’s anti-minority perception.