Closed for worship for 72-years since the partition, Pakistan has re-opened the doors of a 1,000-year-old Hindu temple, built by Sadar Teja Singh, in Sialkot. Worshippers are once again queueing for seek blessings at the Shawala Tej Singh Temple. Deputy Commissioner Bilal Haider said the people are free to visit the temple anytime.
Amir Hashmi, the spokesperson for the Evacuee Trust Property Board said they re-opened the temple on the demand of the local Hindu community. Hashmi said the temple was closed for years because there was no Hindu population earlier residing in the city the temple was situated in. “The temple was partially damaged during attacks on temples here in reaction to the demolition of Babri Mosque in 1992,” he said. The Evacuee Trust Property Board is carrying out restoration works on the temple.
The Board’s deputy director Fraz Abbas said the temple has been opened for worship for the first time since partition. “Some 2,000 Hindus are residing in this locality and they are so happy to visit their centuries old worship place,” Abbas said. “Now, a good number of local Hindus are visiting it, Hindus from other parts of the country are also expected to visit the temple,” he added.
Hindus, over 90 lakh, make up Pakistan’s biggest minority community with majority settled in the Sindh province. The Hindus and Muslims of India and Pakistan were divided heavily in terms of religion during the 1947 partition. This year will be 72-years of independence for the two countries, but both remain divided in terms of religion.