Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2011) - A historic and ancient temple of Durga Mata, dedicated to the Hindu Goddess, is facing imminent destruction in the Tharparkar district of Pakistan’s Sindh province. The temple, between 2,000 to 2,500 years old, is endangered by newly started quarrying for granite at the base of the hill on which the temple stands.
Hindus lodged a complaint to halt the work, but the Sindh government, ignoring their request, issued an official lease to the contractor of the quarry to continue. The temple may be destroyed within a month if the quarrying for granite continues, experts claim.
"Our 2010 Hindu Human Rights report again highlights the woeful condition of Hindus and Hindu places of worship in Pakistan,” said Prof. Ramesh Rao, Hindu American Foundation’s Human Rights Coordinator. “While the bulk of international opprobrium against Pakistan is concentrated on its machinations in Afghanistan and India’s state of Kashmir, the ongoing human rights crisis ongoing within its own borders involving the Hindu minority are too often overlooked. It is incumbent upon the U.S. to predicate its military aid to Pakistan on improvements in the country’s atrocious human rights record.”
Some 200,000 pilgrims visited the Durga Mata temple during the recent holy festival of Shivratri. The pilgrims protested the destruction and urged the government to stop the work. The work was halted during the festival but has resumed again. Pakistan’s media, both print and television, have thus far failed to publicize the Hindu complaints, and spokespersons for this fast shrinking and neglected minority feel that Hindus are increasingly alienated in Pakistan.