Hindu temple allegedly occupied by land-grabbers
KARACHI: The caretaker of the seven centuries old Shiva Temple in Gujarat Colony, near Islamia College on Jail Chorangi Road, Jamshed town, has alleged that influential builders have occupied the temple’s land.
Ashok Kumar, the young caretaker of the Shiva Temple, said that, in the past, the temple was spread over two acres of land, which was now occupied by influential builders, leaving just a small piece of land for the temple.
Elderly Baalchand Kangrani, a pundit of the temple said that he shifted to the temple with his family in 1999. “The temple was in a deplorable condition as an angry mob had attacked it in reaction to the demolishing of the Babri Masjid in India by Hindu extremists in 1992,” said Kangrani, adding that the local Hindus donated for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the temple.
The temple’s records reveals that it was built in the late 1930s and the foundation stone on the main gate states that in 1943, a famous jeweler of the city, Seth Shivjibhai Thakursibhai and his son Soni Hirjibhai Shivjibhai JP sponsored a compound wall and the tiles of the temple.
The temple has a vast courtyard which the Hindus use for worship and religious programmes. According to Kumar, the temple committee has approached different ministers for help in reclaiming the temple’s land but even the Hindu ministers refused to help. The caretaker claimed that the builders have occupied the temple’s land with the support of Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxation Mukesh Kumar Chawla’s father and former politician Bhagwandas Chawla.
“In the past, we requested Bhagwandas to help the temple committee so that the temple’s land could be saved. We even gave him the necessary details and documents, however, since then we have not seen him and later heard that an influential builder paid him a heavy sum of money for permission to use the land,” said Kumar.
When this scribe contacted the excise minister to get his version of the story, he rejected the allegation. “It is a false and baseless allegation and if the caretaker can prove the allegations I will personally help obtain the land,” said Chawla.