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Pvt company''s excavation threatens ancient Hindu temple in Pak

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  1. Gossipmonger

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    Pvt company''s excavation threatens ancient Hindu temple in Pak

    Islamabad, Mar 10 (Rezaul H Laskar) A private company''s excavation for granite deposits in Pakistan''s southern Sindh province is posing a threat to an ancient Hindu temple and has triggered protests by local residents.
    The company began excavating a hill near the Durga Mata temple in Choryo village of Tharparkar district with heavy machinery and dynamite about a month ago.
    The excavation was launched as pilgrims from Nepal, India and other countries came to the temple to attend the annual ''Sardaro mela'' in February, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
    The ''yatris'' or pilgrims found that the path leading to the temple was destroyed.
    "Pieces of rock were scattered all around and heavy machinery loomed ominously and silently nearby," the report said.
    The three-day Shivratri mela that began on February 2 became an occasion for protests by local residents.
    "We found that the way leading up to the temple is also destroyed. The hill is being sawed into from all sides, we''re afraid our temple will be damaged," Veerjhi Kohli, a resident of Choryo, told the daily.
    Local residents said contractor Abdullah Qureshi was given control of the hill on lease by the Sindh government.
    Qureshi is "busy blasting through huge chunks of the hill at the bottom of the temple to extract granite while the pilgrims watch on in horror," the report said.
    Kohli said Hindus cremated their dead and saved their ashes till Shivratri to be scattered into holy water.
    While Pakistan''s richer Hindus go to India and release their loved one''s remains into the Ganges, those who cannot afford the trip come to Tharparkar.
    The Durga Mata temple is one of two shrines where Hindus always go and pay their respects on Shivratri, making it a significant part of their religion.
    According to Kohli, around 200,000 pilgrims flock to the temple for the festival.

    Though the excavation for granite stopped during Sardaro mela, the pilgrims were dismayed by the digging.
    They organised a protest but "in a place as remote as this, no media came, there was no notice", said a disappointed Kohli, adding "Only one newspaper picked it up as a small story".

    Pvt company''s excavation threatens ancient Hindu temple in Pak - International News