KARACHI: Three pistol-waving bearded men stormed a 60-year-old temple in Pakistan’s largest city and desecrated the idol of a Hindu deity, leading to fear among the minority community here, a media report said today.
The incident happened on January 21 when the three men clad in shalwar and kameez stormed the temple waving pistols and ordered everyone inside the premises to step out.
The panic and scuffle that followed resulted in desecration of one of the three beautifully-decorated idols at the temple near the Karachi Zoological Gardens, Dawn reported.
“The people are afraid of coming here for puja now after the attack,” said Maharaj Hira Lal.
Other than the Maharaj and his family, the caretakers of this temple, nobody else was present when the scuffle broke.
“We don’t know who those men were. We have never seen them before,” Maharaj said.
“We are very saddened by the incident. It has really terrorised the neighbourhood,” he said.
The temple has three idols of deities Shitala Mata, Santoshi Mata and Bhavani Mata.
Maharaj said the scuffles that followed resulted in the desecration of the temple as a goddess deity, Bhavani Mata, lost one of its arms.
He said the temple was built as a place for worship by his grandfather soon after he moved to Pakistan from India some 60-years ago.
“He was childless but adopted a 14-year-old boy, Mohan, who he brought up as his son. The young boy was soon married to a suitable Hindu girl, Champa Bai, who lived nearby in Soldier Bazaar. And I am Mohan and Champa’s son.
“The private temple soon became known when several women considered unable to give birth to children came to perform puja here following which they were able to conceive.
“Then some eight years ago, during regular puja here, devotees witnessed another miracle when Kali Mata’s footprints made from red holy powder abir suddenly appeared beside the mantel,” the Maharaj said.
Aslam Khan, a local police officer, said the temple was not registered and no formal complaint has been made by the Hindu community to investigate the matter.
“But we have been investigating to find out who the three persons were and why they barged into this private worship place for Hindus,” he added.