KARACHI: The Hindu community in Karachi woke up on Saturday morning to find the old Mari Mata Temple Soldier Bazaar had been razed to the ground.

According to residents of the area, the operation took place while the area was without electricity late on Friday night. That’s when the diggers and a bulldozer arrived to do their work. While leaving the outer walls and the temple’s main gate intact, they demolished the entire inside structure.

The residents have also reported that they saw a police mobile there to provide ‘cover’ to the men operating the machines.

They said that the Mari Mata Temple is located on Mukhi Chohitram Road, very near the Soldier Bazaar police station.

“It is a very old mandir,” Shri Ram Nath Mishra Mahraj of another very old temple nearby, the Shri Punch Mukhi Hanuman Mandir, informed Dawn.

“It is said to have been built over 150 years ago. We have also heard of stories about old treasures buried in its courtyard,” he said, adding that it covered about 400 to 500 square yards and there had been talk of the land grabbers having their eye on it for some time now.

“The mandir was under the management of the Madrasi Hindu community of Karachi and since it was being said that it was a very old and dangerous structure that might topple any day, the mandir management after much pressure reluctantly but temporarily moved most of their deities to a small room near the storm water drain until they could carry out some renovation work there,” he said.

“But last night the Mari Mata Mandir was just flattened,” he added.

A member of the Madrasi Hindu community, meanwhile, said that they were being forced to vacate by two persons, namely, Imran Hashmi and Rekha AKA Nagin Bai. There was also talk of the temple being sold off by the two named to another party for an amount of 70 million rupees and the buyers were looking to build a commercial building there. There was also a mention of some fake documents in the name of a person named ‘Navaid’, allowing transfer of lease of the amenity plot to a commercial one.

The community has appealed to the Pakistan-Hindu Council, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and the Inspector General of Sindh police to take notice and look into the matter on an urgent basis.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2023

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