UMERKOT: Hundreds of enraged devotees gathered at old Akharo temple on Thursday after learning that some miscreants had desecrated idols but police later convinced them to disperse peacefully as the incident appeared to be an offshoot of a dispute between two groups over the temple’s plots.
Ms Haloo Gir, who claimed to be mother of late shevadhari (custodian) of the temple, told journalists that one Ratan Malhi, who owned an ice factory near the temple, had damaged the idols.
She urged the government to remove the ice factory and get all the plots and shops of the temple vacated.
Ratan Malhi, a businessman and devotee of the temple, responded to the accusation at a press conference that the allegation was baseless and shameful.
He said that heads of the communities of Malhis, goldsmiths, Thakurs, Khatris and Rebaris (nomads), who were devotees of the temple, had appointed Mithoo Gir as shevadhari of the ancient temple 30 years ago.
He said that after Mithoo died 20 years back they did not appoint a new shevadhari. In the meantime, Mithoo’s son Nand Gir and his widow Haloo kept taking care of the temple and some time back they started selling the temple’s plots despite resistance by the communities.
He said that the land mafia was bent upon selling 8,000 square feet plot and he was the only hindrance to their designs. Therefore, they had staged this drama of damaging the idols to have him removed, he said.
He said that Nand along with Jeewat Gir, Lal Gir, Than Gir, Dilbar Bhayo, Kando and Kalyo Rebari barged into the temple last night and damaged the idols in order to entangle him in the case.