07/03/2019, 15.01
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Sialkot, Hindu temple reopens after 72 years

The Shawala Teeja Singh Temple is located on Circular Road.  The green light was given by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the president of the government fund that manages the properties of displaced persons.  In 1947, with the sudden partition between India and Pakistan, millions of Hindus and Sikhs quickly fled from Punjab, leaving numerous possessions.


Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An ancient Hindu temple has reopened its doors to the faithful, after having been inaccessible to worship for 72 years.  The Shawala Teeja Singh Temple is located in Sialkot, on Circular Road, in the Pakistani province of Punjab.  The resolution of a dispute that had lasted for years came at the behest of the federal government.

The news is reported by the local newspaper The Express Tribune.  The reopening and inauguration ceremony, according to the Hindu tradition, took place yesterday.  The event was attended by Hindu leaders and children.  Syed Faraz Abbas, deputy secretary of the temple, reports "that the temple had been closed since 1947. For several years the Hindu community requested that the place of worship be reopened".

The green light was given by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Amir Ahmed, president of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (Etpb), a government fund that manages the property of displaced people.  These are mainly educational institutions, charities and places of worship owned by Sikhs and Hindus forced to leave the country after the traumatic partition between India and Pakistan, which occurred (suddenly) in 1947 at the behest of the authorities of the time.

The temple contractor informs that the renovation works of the structure, abandoned for so many years, "will start after the cost estimate".  According to local sources, the statues of the deities could be transported from India.

Two days ago in the Sialkot area another place of religious minorities reopened to Indian pilgrims: the ancient Gurdwara Babe de Ber, a sacred temple for Sikhs for 500 years.  According to tradition, here under the Ber tree in the 16th century Guru Nanak, founder of the spiritual movement from Kashmir stopped to rest.  The reception of pilgrims wants to act as a "bridge" between the two countries - India and Pakistan - who are historic rivals.

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