PHC moved against ‘demolition’ of temple PESHAWAR: Two citizens on Monday filed a petition with the Peshawar High Court against the alleged ongoing demolition of a non-functional Hindu temple in the interior Peshawar city seeking orders for placing the old structure under the administrative control of the archeology department.
The petitioners, Muhibur Rehman and Waqif Saleem advocate, said few months ago, the issue of the alleged changes made to the said temple’s building was reported in national and international newspapers following which the KP government had sealed the temple and arrested two tenants.
They added that those elements in connivance with the evacuee trust properties department had resumed the temple’s demolition to construct a plaza there.
In the petition filed through lawyer Muazzam Butt, the respondents are deputy administrator of the Evacuee Trust Properties, federal government through interior secretary, provincial government through home secretary, archeology director, director (archives), Peshawar deputy commissioner, Kotwali and Hasthnagri police stations SHOs and minority MPAs Askar Pervez and Frederick Azeem.
The petitioners said different newspapers had reported besides publishing pictures of the Hindu temple located in Mohallah Wangrhi Garah in Karimpura localities that the ancient Hindu temple is being secretly demolished so that a commercial plaza could be constructed there.
They added that on basis of said reports, the KP government’s spokesman had categorically stated: “The government had taken step as the Constitution guarantees equal rights to the minorities and protection of their religious places. The temple is as reserved for us as for the minorities communities and we cannot tolerate its demolition.” They claimed the deputy commissioner along with archaeology director Dr. Abdul Samad Khan also visited the temple and formally sealed its premises.
The petitioners claimed it appeared that all those officials could not stop the influential elements from demolishing temples.
They added that they had also addressed a news conference reminding the government to take appropriate action in order to protect the Hindu minority’s temples, holy places and heritage, but to no avail.
The petitioners said after the 18th Constitution Amendment, many departments had fallen in the provincial domain.
They added that the Evacuee Trust Property related to the federal subject yet KP had the Antiquity Act 2016, whereas the temple in question was more than a period of around one and a half century old and its structure still appeared fresh and firm.
The petitioners prayed the court to declare that the act of and proceeding taken within the territorial jurisdiction of the court by the Evacuee Trust Property’s management performing the affairs of the federation as well as of the province allowing demolition of the said temple has been done and taken without lawful authority and in violation of the Antiquity Act 2016.
They said the construction of plaza and building in place of Hindu temple might be restrained and the respondents might be required to refrain from changing the nature and remains of the temple property.
The petitioners said the archeology department might be directed to take control of the building/temple according to law for its safety, and preservation of heritage.