SIALKOT: The historic Shawala Teja Singh temple has been re-opened for the Hindu community for worship after its 72-year closure.

Located in the congested Muhallah Dhaarowal on Circular Road, the temple, which is over a 1,000 years old, had been closed since the Partition. It is located on a dune along Allama Iqbal Road and one has to climb up staircases to reach the building. The Hindu community had been pressing successive governments for its rehabilitation and re-opening.

A special opening ceremony was held at the temple under the auspices of the Evacuee Trust Property Board on Tuesday. Deputy Secretary (Shrines) Syed Faraz Abbas visited the site and presided over the ceremony. He met with the local Hindu and Muslim leaders and stressed the need for promotion of religious harmony to establish durable peace.

Local Hindus, led by Dr Munawar Chand, Amarnath Randhawa and Pandit Kashi Ram, performed their religious rites and also prayed at the re-opened temple. Local Muslims also attended the ceremony.

The Hindu leaders welcomed the re-opening of the temple, saying that it had been popular among the community during the British rule. The building of this historical temple was damaged by mobs in 1992 in reaction to the demolition of Babri Mosque in India’s Ayodhya city.

Jubilant Hindus distributed sweets and greeted each other on the re-opening of temple, and thanked the government for it.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd , 2019

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