SHC asks school not blocking access to old temple

KARACHI: The Sind High Court SHC on Thursday ordered the administration of a school to not to block the access to an old temple in Tando Adam till further orders.

Headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, the division bench also directed advocate general Sind to file comments and put off the hearing till March 11.

Petitioner Reejho Mal submitted before the court that members of the minority community were not being allowed to enter the historical temple, Amrapur Asthan of Prem Prakash Panth, a Hindu sect of the global Sindhi community having roots with traditions and customs of Sanatan Hindu Dharam.

He contended that the local Hindus worshipped and performed their rituals at the century old temple, the last resting place of Satguru Swami Tenu Ram Ji Maharaj, who had established the Prem Prakash sect before the partition.

He stated that the provincial government had allotted a portion of the temple land to the education department to establish Dr Ziauddin Primary School. He said that school’s administration were preventing minority members from entering the temple, adding their attitude was hostile towards the minority members.

He prayed to the court to declare that the obstruction and prevention caused to petitioners and his community from preaching and practicing their religion in their religious holy place by the school administration was illegal and in violation of constitutional rights.

The petitioner pleaded the court to direct the relevant authorities to declare the temple “protected heritage” under provisions of Section 6 of the Sind Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, 1984 and take measures for its repair and maintenance.

Al-Falah Welfare Association, through Muhammad Azam Qureshi intervener ruled out the claims of petitioner and said that there is no any temple or any ritual was performed by Hindu community at that place. He told the court that Dr. Ziauddin Primary School and Sir Syed High School were established after partition at plot no measuring 16,387 square yards.

He said that construction on said plot consists of 40 to 45 rooms which were used as “Musafir Khana”. He said that Teenu Ram, a secular, social reformer, had established this traveller lodge to provide shelter to the commuters who travelled from one place to another.

He said that decade before partition he shifted to Ulhasnagar Maharashtra, India to look after his other Musafir Khanas in various cities of India. He said that after partition this site became camp for refugees who came from India. He added that later in 1948 keeping in view the significance of construction this was turned into schools.