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Save Hindu Mandirs from desecration in Pakistan – The story of 150-year-old Shree Mari Mata Mandir

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The following is an account taken as an excerpt from videos and interviews amounting to a total of 232 mins (about 4 hours) all and more available on YouTube. Also included are some comments and inferences drawn based on the original account. Photo evidence and reference links are provided at bottom. There are more accounts out there that have not been actively referred to and content has been summarised in favour of length (The actual content length is about 1650 words only) although there are many more details in the videos not covered herein. This seems to be a developing story.

Mangla’s Story – A Summary

Many journalists have tried to investigate the issue and, in their attempt, have unravelled people who are close to the issue. These people include those from the temple trust, people in the vicinity of the temple who have stayed there for decades, neighbours of those accused and relatives of the accused. One such person is Mangla who claims to be the daughter of Maharaj Hiralal (The Hindu priest/pujari appointed by the temple trust – Hindu Madrasi community) and elder sister of Rekha.

Rekha is the woman who is claiming the 150-year-old temple and the premises to be her private property out of nowhere. Mangla has made some shocking revelations which are well documented in her videos and interviews prominently on her YouTube channel and noticeably in her interview with popular YouTuber Sohaib Chaudhary.  

Mangla claims that while most bureaucrats who visited the site have made their statements on the basis of how the situation has been for a little while now, even at that these people are not associated with the temple nor visited it so neither is it complete nor accurate. Yet, the case, however, was different until a few years ago and that is being conveniently covered up especially pointing out how close the temple is to the Soldier Bazaar police station and the viral videos/photos of the temple being razed by a bulldozer supposedly show and all reports confirm the presence of police mobile providing cover to this illegal activity.

She points out that how the ownership documents, old maps of the region, blueprints of the vicinity and the temple can prove her point, urging people to hold the administrative staff accountable by demanding investigation of the evidence. She explains in detail how the land mafia of Pakistan has their eyes on the temple from as early as the year 2005 and were making attempts to usurp the place of worship and the attached land in an illegal way, causing even physical harm to Mangla and her spouse, Maharaj Hiralal, Hindu Madrasi Community members – Kashi and Selvaraj, when they confronted the land mafia, Imran and Rekha. Further they allegedly received no help or assistance from the police. On the contrary, Mangla claims that she and her family were harassed continuously.

In her videos, Mangla also claims that the temple was neither originally located at its current location nor in its current state at the 20 feet Karachi Municipality Corporation (KMC) alley at Soldier Bazaar, Karachi. The current location of the temple was allegedly the site of two toilets and one bathroom with a sewage below as per multiple people who were asked.

It is common sense that no place of worship especially temples would be constructed at such a site. Rather Mangla claimed that Maharaj Hiralal and her family including herself used these common amenities when the Maharaj was appointed as a caretaker of the temple and while they stayed on the temple premises with the sole intention of taking care of the temple as appointed caretakers by the Hindu Madrasi community.

The claim is that originally the temple was 242 yards registered as Shree Mari Mata Mandir owned by the trust of the Hindu Madrasi community with a Neem tree a little ahead of the temple within the premises, all of which was illegally bulldozed recently. According to Mangla, it is a pre-mediated conspiracy that was pushed over by Rekha and her alleged husband Imran Shamshi, their lawyer Rubina Durani who seems to be involved herself according to Mangla, land mafia and the Soldier Bazaar police by fabricating and forging documentation in an attempt that they been striving at since as early as the year 2005. Given such a statement, it seems that these documents are not being scrutinised independently and fairly for legitimacy and authenticity.

In a shocking claim, Mangla revealed that while there was nothing buried under the plot but amongst other gold, silver and other precious artefacts and jewellery, there was specifically a mukut/taj of Mata/Goddess, a gold plate below the established/staphit statue of Mata/Goddess in the temple weighing at least 50-60 kgs with an engraving in English, Hindi and Tamil along with the year of the staphna/establishment. Mangla also mentions how she was told of the staphna ceremony which included Tambi Maharaj and Kalidas Swami from India, Hindu Madrasi community, people from Surti community, her grandparents – Mohanlal and his spouse, her parents – Hiralal and his spouse.

In her video, about Imran Shashi (Son of Mohammed Shamsi), Mangla claimed that the media has misreported the name as Imran Hashmi and that Imran is the husband of Rekha. Further, it is alleged that the couple have kept their marriage hidden from public view and which of the couple converted to others religion. It is to be noted that it is likely Rekha converted to Islam given the statements she has made in certain news and videos calling Hindus with certain terms typically used in Islam to refer to Non-Hindus.

Given this she would have to relinquish any rights on the place of Hindu worship. It is to be noted that in recent media appearances Imran has referred himself as a neighbour of Rekha and at other times just as an acquaintance or as somebody who doesn’t know Rekha. However it is claimed that the couple has a son by the name of Mohammed Arslan. Multiple people interviewed on this issue seem to have brought up the link to land mafia as evident from the videos. The plot is estimated to b worth around 60-70 crore rupees today and this does not include the precious jewels, gold, silver and other priceless artefacts of the ancient temple.

In a recent statement, on 28 August 2023, Mangla rebutted a claim by the Minorities minister Mr. Ramesh Kumar Advani who claimed that there is no involvement of administration, judiciary, police or land mafia – in essence any other participants than the Hindu Madrasi community and Rekha. It is worth noting that more evidence is emerging to counter this claim or support the rebuttal and the question is whether sufficient and fair investigation is being done in this case or is it being systematically suppressed. We demand justice for the Hindu minorities in Pakistan and that the mandirs be saved from such desecration.

The Deplorable Event

On late-night of Friday, 14th July 2023 through to the early hours of Saturday, 15th July 2023, the people of Mukhi Chohitram Road at Soldier Bazaar of Karachi, Pakistan witnessed the illegal demolition of a historical, atleast 150 year old, Mandir known by the name of Shree Marie Mata Temple. Bulldozers razed down a Hindu temple to the ground and there were diggers spotted as well. The area, coincidentally yet conveniently, also witnessed a power cut and the event transpired while there was no electricity in the area.

The plan to raze the entire temple barring the outer wall and main gate was executed hurriedly in the darkness of the night further amplified by power cut – all this while being supported by the presence of a heavy contingent of police force, as observed and admitted by locals.

People in buildings overlooking the temple site not only witnessed the tragic, planned and illegal demolition of the temple but also managed to capture it on camera – the video clips went viral not only on internet but were also presented in the, otherwise scanty, media coverage across the globe. Viewed worldwide as a tragically shameful and condemnable event, yet unsurprising given the rich track record of Pakistan in systematic wrecking of places of worship of their minorities over a course of time.

The Forged Narrative

The officials and hence, the local media attributed the demolition to the fact that the structure was “very old” and “dangerous”. It is, however, simple to deduce that these can’t be the true reasons behind the illegal demolition, especially given the manner in which it was carried out and the backlash that followed it, unless by calling the structure very old and dangerous, they meant that it was a heritage of minorities of the nation and socially dangerous to the culture or religion of the majority population inducing a sense of insecurity or intolerance amongst the population.

For what other reasons would a Hindu temple warrant a demolition in a Muslim majority country, as if a respectful and phase-wise renovation was not an option in this day and age, if at all required?

By the time the world could question this seemingly strange but locally popular logic of the land, the narrative was changed to how one of the daughters of the caretaker of the community temple whimsically decided to retain the land for building her own private house.

This is to say that the ancestors of the caretaker, and not a trust as is usually the case with Hindu temples, owned a piece of land and had the temple built for the community where it was a family tradition to be the caretaker and then on a pleasant day a daughter of this family, who was never a caretaker herself but allegedly a convert to Islam and stayed elsewhere, decides to return and raze the ancestral temple, reclaim the land and have a private residence built. Absurd at best but outright nonsense and made-up to a coherent and sane mind.

There was a further built-up to this when the unjust act got some media coverage. Officials were rushed to the spot for damage-control and the concept of community spaces like schools etc. was introduced to the mix by citing that a building will be erected at the place consisting of amenities like school, clinic etc. and a private residence for Rekha.

All photos and evidences herein are taken as reference from the videos and interviews where the participants voluntarily shared the same. These are all in public domain and knowledge with the respective copyrights reserved with the original content providers and have been referred here to complete the story and support the accuracy of the same only.

References

https://www.youtube.com/@mangla791/videos

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