Karachi, Feb.28 : A Hindu religious welfare organization has taken the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) and the government to court in a bid to get back the Hindu Gymkhana heritage site which they claim has belonged to the Hindus of Karachi since before Partition.
The petition was filed by Ratneshwari Maha Dev Welfare Sewa Madly and was taken up Wednesday by a division bench of the High Court of Sindh (SHC) that issued notices to NAPA, the Sindh Cultural Heritage Department and others.
The welfare association maintains that the Hindu Gymkhana was the property of the Hindus of Karachi since pre-Partition days and the site was protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act. The petitioner stated that the property was illegally taken by NAPA even though there were a number of other suitable places. Also, there is no other place available for the social and cultural activities of this minority community.
According to the Daily Times, the petitioner has also maintained that the property could not be used for any other purpose. It was also alleged that out of the 38,626 square yards of the Hindu Gymkhana, 27,346 sq yards have been encroached upon by the police department, 6,700 sq yards by the Federal Public Service Commission, 4,164 sq yards by the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association and 416 sq yards by one Abdul Majeed.
It was also alleged that some parts of the heritage site were demolished, modified beyond recognition or damaged, in gross violation of the Heritage Act. The court was prayed to direct the respondents to hand over control and management of the Hindu Gymkhana to the association for the promotion of cultural and religious activities of the Hindu community of Karachi, the biggest minority in the metropolis.
The bench issued pre-admission notices to the respondents for a date which will be fixed later by the court.