SHC issues notices on application of intervener

Karachi: The Sindh High Court SHC on Thursday issued notice to the official respondents in an application of Intervener who informed the court that petitioner’s claim of century old temple at a place next to the Maharaj’s Samadhi, his final resting place in Tando Adam is baseless.

Applicant Muhammad Azam Qureshi filed an application for being an Intervener in a petition seeking court directives to provincial government for ensuring free access to the temple in Tando Adam and to declare it as protected heritage.

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 centuryold 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 said, 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 Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, 1984 and take measures for its repair and maintenance.

The general secretary of the AlFalah Welfare Association filed an application for becoming intervener. The court allowed him as intervener in the petition.

He 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.

He alleged that Hindu Ministers/MPAs forcefully have occupied the monument which was being used as Library. He added that when illegal occupation was resisted they have approached to court.

He said that their interference was causing loss of education to the children; therefore he said that he decided to become intervener.

A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar issued notice to chief secretary, secretary culture department and other respondents and put off the hearing of the case till March 20.