Karachi, Apr 3 : The century-old Ratan Talha Hindu temple in Pakistan, once known for its beautiful architecture, has been reduced to an auto-workshop with rusted broken iron bars and wrecked fences scattered around, and cars parked outside for repairs.
This reportedly happened after the Auqaf Department leased this historic temple to a private party that converted the temple into the auto-workshop, even as local Hindus have been restricted to enter the temple for worship.
Abdul Qayum, the auto workshop owner, said that he got the temple premises leased in his name the temple two decades ago, and had no knowledge of it being a temple, as there were no statues of gods and goddesses when he received it from the Auqaf department.
The temple is located on Ratan Street, near the Preedy police station.
Spread over an acre, the temple is surrounded with two-storey buildings from three sides, built for pundits and guests. A courtyard for public gatherings is located in the center and on one side is a worship area made with iron bars, reported the Daily Times.
"The Auqaf department has allowed the private parties to insult the temple by converting it into a workshop. There is no gate at the main entrance and the wild animals entering the temple upset us the most," the paper quoted Sindh Hindu Council (SHC) General Secretary DM Maharaj as saying.
According to Maharaj, the Council has repeatedly contacted Auqaf officials for retaining the possession of the temple for renovation work, but has been refused.
Former SHC Minority MPA Bheery Mal Balani said that the workshop owner has taken over the Dharamshala for which he pays only a few hundred rupees to the Auqaf as rent.
"Auqaf officials sold the 14 shops in the temple and kept a small land for the temple that is also used by the workshop," said Balani. He informed that the workshop owner restricts Hindus from visiting the temple.