In another cry to preserve religious rights and homes, the minorities have once again been forced to speak out and reclaim what is theirs. Residents of Kashmir Colony, Peshawar, have demanded that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government secure their houses and historical worship places of minorities at the colony and take action against those who are determined on demolishing the locality and five temples for construction of a shopping plaza. With religious intolerance on the rise, and an immense cry by the citizens to reclaim land that is being snatched away under the umbrella of development, it is time for the government to step up and protect the most vulnerable citizens of the nation.

Moazzam Butt, an advocate submitted an application to the police at Khan Raziq police station on behalf of the residents of Kashmir Colony on Thursday to take action against all those involved in grabbing the land properties belonging to Kashmiris and temples of Hindus and Sikhs.The lawyer alleged that an official of Evacuee Trust Property Board (Auqaf department) in connivance with a local nazim had allegedly sold the property to a tribesman belonging to Khyber Agency and forcing the residents of Kashmir Colony to vacate their houses because they had no valid documents to prove ownership.

The property, Moazzam said included five worship places of Hindus and Sikhs and several residential quarters where the residents were forced to vacate without any prior warning. For this purpose, he is moving a petition in the high court against the official concerned for snatching land properties from the owners. Looking at the situation of minorities in KP, the government must take affirmative action in their favour, and stop the ongoing harassment.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government must now do something about this flagrant negligence and violation by the relevant department(s), instead of being reduced to a silent spectator in the demolition of not only this community’s houses, but also places of worship.

It might be a small community, but under the constitution and the very principles that our nation has been built, a shopping mall, in place of a religion’s place of worship is a travesty- showing that we as a nation simply look away when systematic oppression happens in our own country.