Alleged encroachment: Soldier Bazaar temple razed in hurried operation
By Rabia Ali
Apart from razing down the pre-partition Shri Rama Pir Mandir, the private builder also demolished three or four houses located next to it. Nearly 40 people became homeless as a result.
“They destroyed our mandir and humiliated our gods,” said an angry Prakash, pointing towards the huge debris of concrete, stones and walls of the temple. The demolishing team did place the statues of four Hindu deities on the side but the residents accused them of taking away their gold jewellery and crowns.
Pointing to the bruises on his arms, Lakshman said that, “they hit me with their guns when I tried to stop them. I told them to kill me instead of destroying our holy place.”
Banwri recalled that the demolition teams arrived around 11 in the morning. She was preparing breakfast when she heard the thundering noise of a bulldozer. She rushed outside, only to receive instructions to bring her bed, cupboard and other essential items outside the house. “I watched my house go down in just minutes and I couldn’t do anything.”
She added that, during the demolition, the area was cordoned off by the police and Rangers with tents put up all around. Outsiders were not allowed to enter, she added.