Last month, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) retrieved a 1200-year-old Hindu temple in Pakistan. The named Valmiki temple in Pakistan’s city, Lahore. The restoration was made possible after the ‘illegitimate residents’ were evicted from it following a lengthy court fight. The temple was in possession of a Christian family for over 20 years. However, they claimed to have turned themselves into Hinduism. The temple is situated near the famous Anarkali Bazaar of Lahore. Apart from the famous Krishna temple, the Valmiki temple is the only functional temple in Lahore.
What Is The Evacuee Trust Property Board?
A Long Court Battle
The ETPB officials told the 80-year-old prestigious news source, Dawn newspaper, in the revenue record, that the temple’s land was already transferred to ETPB. Still, the Christian family constantly claimed to be the rightful owners of the sacred temple. Therefore, soon after, the family filed a case in the civil court of Pakistan.
The officials also added that besides filing a lawsuit, they also made the temple open for a mere section of followers which was unjust, and thus it made them go ahead with the case in court.
After a long battle of legal proceedings, the court finally reprimanded the petitioners (Christian family) for false claims, said the ETPB officials.
Krishna Sharma, president of the Pakistan Hindu Mandir Management Committee (PHMMC), gave his opinions. He added, “The role of Valmikis is very significant in Hindu mythology. Had they not written the Ramayan, no one would know Ram. Earlier, this temple was not being used for worship; those possessing it didn’t allow anyone to enter. But now, every Hindu can come in and pray.”
The Sufferings Valmiki Temple Went Through
Back in 1992, in the repercussions of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India, an angry mob stormed the temple, causing grave damage to it. The mob not just broke utensils and crockery in the kitchen and looted the gold that adorned the statues but also something way worse. They smashed the idols of Krishna and Valmiki that hurt the sentiments of a lot of people. The temple was made into debris, and the building was set on fire. The nearby shops also went up in flames. It took many days to calm the chaos.
As per Dawn newspaper, a one-person commission constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan presented its proposal to the government, telling the temple must be revamped for the people of the Hindu community. But because of the lawsuit, ETPB was impotent to start restoration work.
The temple was made on over 10 marla land worth millions in the heart of the city. ETPB looks after about 200 gurdwaras and 150 temples across Pakistan. It is the duty of ETPB to ensure that the legacy of the temples and land left by Sikhs and Hindus who migrated to India after the Partition remains intact.