Tensions rise within the Hindu community as a Hindu temple in Karachi, Pakistan, was demolished to make room for a shopping mall. The Mari Mata Hindu temple, located in Soldier Bazaar, Karachi, was destroyed by an unidentified builder on the night of Friday, July 14, sparking outrage and concern among the Hindu community.
Reports suggest that the temple’s land was sold to a shopping mall developer for Rs 7 crore. In the presence of policemen, bulldozers were used to raze the temple in a midnight operation. Surprisingly, the temple trustees and associated NGOs did not voice their opposition to this act of vandalism. It is worth noting that in June of last year, idols of Hindu deities were also vandalized in the Mari Mata temple.
Panic and fear have gripped the Hindu community residing in Karachi as a result of this incident. Sanjeev, a Hindu resident of the Korangi area, expressed his dismay to Express Tribune, recounting how a group of six to eight individuals on motorcycles attacked the temple. Temples have unfortunately become targets of mob violence in Pakistan, and several temples situated along the banks of the Indus River in Kotri, Bhong city, and the Sukkur-Multan motorway have previously been destroyed.
Official estimates suggest that there are 7.5 million Hindus residing in Pakistan, although the community itself claims the number to be over 9 million. The majority of Hindus live in the Sindh province and have frequently reported incidents of harassment by extremists.
The demolished Mari Mata temple had a rich history, having stood for 150 years. Ram Nath Mishra Maharaj, the priest of Karachi’s Shri Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir, revealed to Dawn that stories about old treasures buried within the temple’s courtyard have been passed down through generations. The temple covered an area of approximately 400 to 500 square yards, and concerns had been raised about land grabbers eyeing the property.
In a related development, a member of the Madrasi Hindu community claimed that he was being coerced into vacating his house by two individuals, Emraan Hashmi and Rekha alias Naagin Bai. There were rumors that the temple had been sold by these two individuals to another party for Rs 70 million, and the new buyer intended to construct a commercial building on the site.
The demolition of the Mari Mata temple has ignited a significant controversy, with the Hindu community expressing their anguish over the loss of a sacred place of worship. The incident serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and highlights the need for safeguarding the rights and cultural heritage of all communities within the country.