SIALKOT: The renovation and rehabilitation of the historic temple Shawala Teja Singh began here on Wednesday under a government’s project.

Hindus inaugurated the project with their religious rituals at the temple and also distributed sweets on this occasion.

In the first phase, a gate has been fixed at the entrance of a flight of steps of the temple, while the boundary wall would also be built at a later stage.

According to Punjab Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Dr Amir Ahmed, the government has released Rs5 million for the project.

ETPB officials said that the project would be completed in three months.

Local Hindu leaders Rattan Lal, Ramaish Kumar, Dr Munawar Chand, Amarnath Randhawa and Pandit Kashi Ram, after performing religious rituals at the temple, welcomed the renovation of the temple. Hindu leaders said the building of the abandoned historical temple had been badly damaged by a mob after the demolition of Babari Mosque in Ayodhya, India, in December 1992.

Located on Dhaarowal-Circular Road, the temple remained closed.

Hindus said the reopening of the temple would convey to the world that the minorities were enjoying complete religious freedom in Pakistan and that the Pakistan government was making all out sincere efforts to ensure the basic rights and religious freedom of the minorities in Pakistan.

On July 2, the government reopened the temple in Sialkot for the Hindu community after its 72 years long closure.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2019