KARACHI: A century-old temple here was hurriedly demolished by a builder despite a Pakistani court hearing a petition seeking a stay on such a move, triggering protests by the minority Hindu community today.
Besides razing the pre-Partition Shri Rama Pir Mandir in Karachi's Soldier Bazar, the builder demolished several houses near it yesterday.
Nearly 40 people, a majority of them Hindus, became homeless as a result, The Express Tribune reported today.
Following the demolition, the Pakistan Hindu Council organised a protest outside the Karachi Press Club this afternoon.
They protested the demolition by the builder and the lack of action on the part of authorities.
The Sindh High Court is hearing a petition seeking a stay on any move to demolish Shri Rama Pir Mandir.
"They destroyed our 'mandir' and humiliated our gods," an angry man named Prakash was quoted as saying by the Tribune.
The demolition team placed the statues of four Hindu deities to one side, but local residents accused them of taking away gold jewellery and crowns that had adorned the statues.
Pointing to bruises on his arms, another man identified as Lakshman said, "They hit me with their guns when I tried to stop them. I told them to kill me instead of destroying our holy place."
A woman named Banwri said the demolition team arrived at around 11 am while she was preparing breakfast.
She rushed outside when she heard the sound of a bulldozer and was given instructions to move her bed, cupboard and other essential items outside her home.
"I watched my house go down in just minutes and I couldn't do anything," she said.
Banwri said that during the demolition, the area was cordoned off by police and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers.
Outsiders were not allowed to enter the area, she added.