The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology and Museums was compelled to change the venue of a poetry session at the last minute after Hindus raised an objection to it on Wednesday.
The Guru Gorakhnath temple at Gor Gathri was to play host to the event but Hindus objected to their place of worship being used for the activity. Therefore, the directorate shifted the venue to the lawns of the archaeological complex to respect their sentiments.
The K-P Directorate of Archaeology and Museum held the event at Gor Gathri lawns.
However, Archaeology Director Abdul Samad told The Express Tribune that the department has the authority to arrange the poetry session anywhere on Gor Gathri’s premises. “We arranged the event to highlight the historical importance of this archaeological complex,” said Samad.
Upon hearing about the poetry session, Hindus rushed to the temple to protest against the archaeology directorate’s decision. “How can a poetry session be held in a temple, the holiest of places for Hindus?” questioned Naresh, a protester.
All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairman Haroon Sarbdiyal said the sanctity of the worship places of Hindus should be maintained and honoured by both government departments and the people.
“With our timely interference we were able to get the venue of the poetry session changed to the lawns,” said Sarbdiyal.
Moreover, members of the recently-formed Commission for Peace and Minority Rights (CPMR) also criticised the archaeology department’s decision to hold the event at the historical temple.
They said such decisions could further fuel an already alarming sense of deprivation and insecurity among Hindus as well as members of other religious minorities in the city.
The CPMR, a Sikh and Hindu association, was formed in August with the aim of raising a collective voice for their rights. The group was formed out of frustration over the government’s failure to protect members of other faiths and human rights organisations’ failure to support non-Muslims in the province.