Hindu temple-turned-school in Pak's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in crumbling conditions, locals call for its restoration

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Islamabad [Pakistan], May 18 (ANI): A primary school in Lakki Marwat city of Pakistan, which was once a Hindu temple, is in a constant state of decay and could collapse any time soon, Pakistani media reported.

Locals have urged the provincial government to restore the historically important building.

The primary school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also known as Mena School but popularly called Mander School (temple school) was established following the India-Pakistan partition after majority of the Hindu community fled to India in panic.

Talking to The Express Tribune Headmaster Fazal Rehman said the original two rooms of the temple are in very bad shape due to lack of repair and could collapse any time while four new rooms have been built for the school which are in use.

"This is a historic temple due to its age, located centrally in the Lakki Marwat city and the original two rooms of the temple are crumbling. It should be repaired and preserved in its original form in order to preserve it for the coming generations," he said.

A local Hindu, Akash Ajit, said before the partition there were four Hindu temples in the Lakki Marwat city that were abandoned as the community fled to India.

"Three historic temples are gone. They were razed to the ground by the Auqaf Department and a commercial plaza were constructed on its land. One temple survived as it was used as a Primary School," he said, adding that the temple was built originally in 1870 but it was registered 30 years later in 1902.

"It was finally registered as a temple in 1902 by the community. Its original two rooms were initially used for the classes but later four new rooms were built and the original rooms were locked, which are crumbling today," he said.

He also said it is the responsibility of the provincial government as well as the Auqaf Department to restore and repair these room.

When contacted Deputy Commissioner Lakki Marwat Abdul Haseeb said they were aware of the situation of the Mander School and they were trying their level best to repair and restore the two ancient rooms of the temple in order to preserve it.

Pakistan has been repeatedly slammed by the international community for not taking stringent measures to protect the rights of religious minorities.

Last year in December, a mob of over a hundred people led by local Muslim clerics had destroyed and set on fire the temple in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A video clip that went viral on social media showed a violent mob destroying the walls and roof of the temple.

A recent report by a minorities' rights commission in Pakistan has revealed a "dismal" picture of the most revered Hindu sites in the country and slammed the statutory board responsible to maintain the ancient sites of the minority community.

The report submitted to the country's Supreme Court last month presents a "general picture of decay and obliteration" of two of the four most revered evacuee sites in Pakistan, Dawn reported.

The report states that the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), a statutory board of the Pakistan government, has failed to maintain ancient and holy sites of the minority community.

Out of 365 temples, only 13 were being managed by them, leaving 65 with the Hindu community, and "abandoning the rest of temples," Dawn reported, citing the statutory board ETPB. (ANI)