SIALKOT: The government on Friday formally handed over historical Shawala Teja Singh Temple to the Pakistan Hindu Council for worship after completion of its rehabilitation.
Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Dr Amir Ahmed inaugurated this newly renovated building.
Located at Sialkot city’s congested Mohallah Dharowal, Circular Road, the temple has been lying abandoned since the Partition of India. It is stated to be about 1,000 years old.
The Hindu community had been demanding its rehabilitation and reopening consistently. On July 2 this year, the government had announced reopening of the temple for the Hindu community after its 72 years long closure. Its renovation, repair and rehabilitation work was started on Aug 21 with a special grant of Rs5m released by the ETPB for this project.
The temple has been restored according to its original design and shape. The entire building has been whitewashed and the main entrance has been fixed while the boundary walls have also been constructed to secure this temple.
On Friday, the Hindus performed their religious rituals and worship. They also distributed sweets to celebrate the occasion.
The local Hindu community leaders, Rattan Lal, Ramesh Kumar, Dr Munawar Chand, Amarnath Randhawa and Pandit Kashi Ram, after performing their worship and religious rituals at this temple, welcomed project and its formal hand over to the community.
They said the building of the abandoned historical temple was badly damaged by the mob of the outraged Muslims after the demolition of Babari Mosque in Ayodhya in India in December 1992.
They said reopening of the temple has told the world that the Pakistan government was making efforts to ensure the basic rights and freedom of the minorities. They stressed the need for promotion of the religious harmony.
Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2019