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ETPB team to inspect encroachments on Kali Mata Temple today

ETPB team to inspect encroachments on Kali Mata Temple today

RAWALPINDI: A team from the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) will be visiting the Kali Mata Temple in Moti Bazaar on Monday to inspect the encroachments made by shopkeepers and have called all stakeholders to join the inspection.

The board had constituted the team after hearing complaints from the Hindu community regarding the encroachments but the visit could not be made yet due to the general elections.

“Our team will visit the site on Monday and prepare a report after consulting the land record available with ETPB,” the board’s deputy administrator, Mohammad Asif told Dawn.

Traders have established shops on temple land, inspection was delayed due to elections

He said the three-member team had already consulted with the Revenue Department for the demarcation of the area. He said all records are available with the board, which will not allow anyone to encroach on temple or gurdwara land.

The issue of the construction of shops in temple premises came to light a few months ago when locals informed the board of them.

The more than 100-year-old Kali Mata Temple has been closed for many decades. The ETPB gave the adjoining building to a private school. When it moved in 1982, local traders got the building from the school owner on rent to which ETPB did not object.

The tenants made shops in the building later to which the board objected.

Members of the Hindu community also requested ETPB to open the temple for worship as the Krishna temple is not enough for accommodating everyone.

A senior ETPB official told Dawn that three separate applications were received from various Hindu organisations for opening closed temples in three different areas.

The All Hindu Panchayat Balmike Sabha wants to re-open the Kali Mata Temple in Moti Bazaar, the All Pakistan Hindu and Sikh Welfare Association wants the Swami Narayan Temple to be re-opened while Hindu residents of the cantonment areas want the temple in Lal Kurti to be vacated and used for worship again.

ETPB Deputy Administrator Mohammad Asif said the Sikh community in Rawalpindi and Islamabad also approached the board for handing over the old gurdwara in Raja Bazaar, where a government school administration has constructed a mosque and made changes in the building.

He said a formal request from Sikhs has been forwarded to the head office for action and that the building was given to the government school for education purposes and the administration had no right to alter the man structure without prior approval from the board.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2018

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