Peshawar Hindus celebrate Diwali in temple after 20 years

Hindus in the mainly Muslim Pakistani city of Peshawar have celebrated Diwali, the annual festival of lights, in a 160-year-old temple for the first time in at least two decades, reports BBC.
For years, members of the Hindu community and local authorities have disagreed over who owns the Baba Guru Gorakh Nath Temple, which is on an important archaeological site.
Recently Peshawar High Court ordered that Hindus be allowed to pray there, although the ownership question remains unresolved.
The temple was reopened by the oldest member of Hindu community in Peshawar Zubaida, a resident of the area commented that people are very happy and the Government should preserve all temples, mosques and churches so the people could celebrate their festivals. Nadia, another resident said she had never been able to enter the temple ever since she was born.
There was a sizable Hindu Population before the partition and reportedly that included the famous Kapoors of the Indian film industry. Now only 400 families live in Peshawar.
Meanwhile, another BBC report says that a 150-year-old Hindu temple in Peshawar has become the focus of a property dispute involving the army.
The Balmiki temple is located in the Kalibari area of the city where a small Hindu community is concentrated.
But the Kalibari area is part of the city’s military cantonment and is run by the army.
The army is saying that the people who run the temple, as well as the owners of some 70 houses in the neighbourhood, must leave.
They have been served with eviction notices.
The army wants to pull down the existing buildings and replace them with a high-rise shopping complex.
The army says that Kalibari is the property of the local cantonment board, and it has the right to vacate it.
Stiff resistance
It has been trying to clear the area for the past 15 years, and has met stiff resistance from the Hindu residents.
The presence of the Balmiki temple, which is the hub of the Hindu community in this crowded neighbourhood, has become a sensitive issue.
The head priest, Ramlal, who has looked after the temple for the last 35 years, says the property in Kalibari belongs to the minorities.
“In 1861, four Hindu merchants were the owners of half of the cantonment area. They built the houses in the Kalibari area to house their employees. They have been living here since then,” Ramlal told BBC News Online.
He said the army would have confiscated the land and property a “long time ago” if they owned it.
Local people do not want to move out of the area.
“We have spent our entire lives in our house or the temple. They are a part of our lives now,” said Ms Devi Das.
Ramlal, who is also the local Hindu leader, said that residents of Kalibari are not prepared to live in any other neighbourhood in Peshawar.
But he said that the people would vacate their homes if they were promised accommodation in the high-rise complex

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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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One Comment on “Peshawar Hindus celebrate Diwali in temple after 20 years”

  1. The Gorakhnath is from Gorkha district, Nepal and his wife is gorakha Kalika, where she is still living temple as the most famous goddesh in Nepal. Gorakh nath is detained during the battle of kohinoor war while he is fighting along side with the Gurkha soilders. He is detained at that period and lucked in side with seven doors. He is waiting for the drops of water from hands of Hindu religious people. Let open the all the seven door and give him drops of water so he can reunite with the Kalika in Nepal. Hope some will try to find the truth.

  2. Islam talks of being secular only when in minority. The finish of all other religions once in majority.

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