Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Pakistan : Rituals in many Hindu temples in Pakistan, including famous Prahlad temple and Sun temple in Multan, have been suspended.
Visiting Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi has said since all the important Hindu temples were facing an acute shortage of priests, the Government had no option but to suspend religious functions in Multan temples.
Kazmi was in UP to visit his ancestral village in Amroha, around 300 km south-west of Lucknow. His father Syed Ahmad Saeed Kazmi belonged to Amroha. The family migrated to Multan in 1935.
The international wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which provides Hindu priests to the overseas temples, said it can supply priests if the Pakistan Government was ready to give visas and security to them.
Apart from Prahlad and Sun temples, some shrines in the Sindhu valley are also hit by the priest crunch. Prahlad temple is an important religious place for Hindus because it is believed that the festival of Holi started here.
“The Pakistan Govern-ment tried to restore religious rituals in these temples because the local Hindu population is missing their religious traditions,” he said, but added that Hindu population has declined in the region. He, however, refused to give reasons for this decline.
The United Nations had offered to adopt Sun temple and Sindhu valley temples as World Heritage sites but the Pakistan Government had rejected the proposal, Kazmi said.
In-charge of international affairs of VHP Swami Vigyananand told The Pioneer: “Everyone knows the state of Hindus in Pakistan. The VHP needs assurance from the Pakistan Government before it sends priests to the neighbouring country.”
The Swami said that VHP sends purohits overseas only on requests either from the Government or from the community. “The VHP is concerned about the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and would want to do everything for them,” he said.
It is not the first time that voice has been raised to protect Hindu identity in Pakistan. Earlier this year, Baluchistan’s provincial Assembly, having two Hindu law makers, passed a resolution against construction of a dam that would have inundated Hinglas Mata temple. The VHP had also voiced anguish over the construction of the dam and had given a memorandum to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. The Federal Government of Pakistan had later shelved the proposal to construct the dam.