Pakistan: Historic Hindu temple’s days may be numbered

A woman prays during a religious festival at Valmiki Mandir. — File photo

RAWALPINDI: The 79-year-old Maharishi Valmik Swamiji Mandir in Chaklala Cantonment may become a casualty of development work planned in the Gracy Lines area.

The locality boasts a large Hindu populace, which has been living in harmony with Christians and Muslims in the area for several decades now.

Being one of three active places of worship for the Hindu community, Valmiki Mandir or Balaknash Temple, as it is commonly known, might be razed along with several Hindu residences in the area to make way for an educational and housing complex. Built in 1935, the temple hosts religious festivals, which are attended by the city’s Hindu families.

On August 12, 2014, Station Headquarters issued notices to the residents of Block 141, Gracy Lines, Chaklala, to vacate the area within 10 days.

Fearing that they might lose the temple as well as their houses, the area’s Hindus filed a petition with the civil court against the planned demolition and managed to obtain a stay order on August 21. But the order only provides them temporary relief as they can live in the area until September 13.

Talking to Dawn, Ashok Chand, who represents the local Hindu community, said: “Though we have not received any written notice regarding the temple’s demolition, we fear the worst”…