A pre-Partition temple was demolished in the Soldier Bazaar area of Karachi on Saturday by a builder even as the Sindh High Court was hearing a petition seeking a stay on the demolition. While the court did grant the stay till December 7, the temple had, by then, been razed and the families living on the compound rendered homeless.

While the builder had kept the idols aside before demolishing the structure, the Hindu community of the area alleged that the jewellery and crowns on the deities were stolen. According to local media reports, the Hindus demanded that the government arrange tickets for them to go to India if the community was not welcome in Pakistan.

The local police, on the other hand, insisted that there was no temple in the area and that the idols that were removed before the demolition site were those present in the houses that were razed. This was countered by the residents, who fished out a plaque of the temple from the debris.

The Express Tribune quoted the Military Lands and Cantonment director as stating that the temple was evacuee property and was not touched in the demolition.

That there was a temple there was also stated by Canada-based Islamic activist Tarek Fatah who said on Twitter: “Police claims it never existed. I went to school in that area. It did.”

Members of the Hindu community staged a protest outside the Karachi Press Club on Sunday and were simultaneously trying to mobilise opinion through SMSes to lend support to the voice of protest raised by the Hindus of the Soldier Bazaar area.