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Pak admits damage to Hindu shrines

Pak admits damage to Hindu shrines

Publication: Tribune News Service
Date: March 1, 2004

The Pakistan Government has admitted for the first time that after the Partition in 1947, several buildings and shrines belonging to Hindus had remained unattended for a long time and had suffered colossal damage.

The official document handed over to Mr Surinder Kumar Billa leader of the Hindu Jatha, which recently returned from Pakistan by Mr Ama Ullah, a curator-cum-project Director of Katasraj Temple clearly mentioned that "secular buildings" (Hindu/Sikh shrines) were subjected to vandalism and considerable damage was caused to these by the local people, who had removed most of embellishments like wooden doors, roof beams, rafters, roof sand stones tiles along with other building materials.

The three-page report is a part of the report sent to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) by Mr Billa. The report speaks about the belated efforts being made by the Pakistan's Evacuee Trust Property Board (PETPB) for the restoration and preservation of Hindu temples with an initial budget of Rs 1 crore. The report stated that a comprehensive development scheme had been prepared for the restoration and preservation of Hindu temples under the instructions of Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The ambitious targets set by the Government of Pakistan, included the preservation of seven ancient temples, restoration and conservation of Hari Singh Nalwa's haveli, preservation of ancient Bairagi's House and other heritage sites, belonging to Hindus.

In his report to MEA, Mr Billa, however, expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by Pakistan Government during the recent visit of the 130-member jatha to Pakistan. He said most of the temples in Pakistan were in a dilapidated condition but the Pakistan Government had started renovating the ancient buildings. Mr Billa, who is president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena offered that his organisation was ready to bear all the expenses of carrying out the 'kar seva' of the ancient temples.

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