Culture, Asia - Pacific

Pakistan set to reopen Jain temple

Temple damaged in reaction to Babri Mosque’s demolition in 1992

Kiran Butt   | 05.12.2021
Pakistan set to reopen Jain temple

LAHORE, Pakistan 

Pakistan is going to reopen the famous Jain Temple after its reconstruction and renovation.

The temple stood tall in all its glory and grandeur at a famous junction in Lahore named the Jain Mandir intersection.

After the demolition of the Babri Mosque on Dec. 6, 1992, in India, a mob two days later attacked the temple and damaged the building.

More than 150,000 people were present at the temple in Ayodhya to listen to leaders of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), India’s right-wing political party, according to the media reports.

After speeches, the crowd stormed the Babri mosque which was built in the 15th century. The huge building was destroyed in a matter of hours.

Riots broke out in India afterward with 23 mosques destroyed and almost 2,000 people killed.

Almost 30 Hindu temples in Pakistan were damaged by mobs and spotted on roads were crowds protesting the destruction of the Babri mosque.

Now, after nearly 30 years, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has given an order authored by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed that an official has been directed to examine the site of the Jain and Neela Gumbad (Blue Tomb) temples and take steps for their restoration and rehabilitation. The order said that the work should be done without delay and a preliminary report should be filed within one month.

Ramesh Kumar Vankwanil, National Assembly member, who is also a member of a commission of the Supreme Court regarding minority rights, told Anadolu Agency: “I have visited the site on Dec. 2 and also appeared in the court regarding this.”

“Pakistan is following its own Constitution in which all religions have the right to practice their faith. I am feeling proud that we are setting examples for others,” he said.

India gave its decision in the Babri mosque case on Nov. 9, 2019, in favor of Hindu parties and said “disputed land” will be given to Hindus and Muslims will get five acres separately in Ayodhya.

In September 2020, all 32 defendants were acquitted in the Babri Mosque demolition case, which also included former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

“We can never forget what happened in India in 1992, the response in Pakistan was also very angry but we cannot form an opinion on just one incident,” said Chairman for the Hindu Welfare Council Pakistan, Dr. Munawar Chand. “Our Muslim brothers have always stood by us. We wish we can have the Jain community again here in large number but this step of reconstruction of the Jain temple has given us immense happiness.”

Meanwhile, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has started work at the temple. Chairman Aamer Ahmed directed officials to present the estimation of the project and duration as soon as possible.

“We are almost done with the estimation and all the paperwork has almost been done. From next week the machinery will be on-site and the work will start in phases,” according to an official on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media. “In the first phase, the dome which is lying on the ground will be picked up with the cranes and then we will move toward the construction of the mandir (temple).”​​​​​​​

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