Muzaffarnagar: There is a solitary temple, located about a kilometre into the road that leads to Laddhewala in Muzaffarnagar city, left behind by its Hindu households sometime in the early 1990s. Since then the shrine is still maintained by its Muslim neighbours. Gulzar Siddiqui, Pappu Bhai, Kayyuam Ahmed, Naushad, Zahid Ahmed and Maksood Ahmed clean it daily, whitewash it every Diwali and protect it from squatters and stray animals. The temple was built sometime around 1970.
The Hindu families had left the area in the aftermath of communal clashes, post the Babri Masjid demolition. Since then the temple was left abandoned.
TOI has quoted Meharbaan Ali, 60, a resident of Muslim-dominated Laddhewala, remembering the days “Jitender Kumar was one of my closest friends. I tried to stop him from leaving, despite the tension. But he left nevertheless, along with many other families, with the promise that they would be back someday. Since then, residents here have been taking care of the temple.”
Zaheer Ahmed a local resident says that the shrine is regularly cleaned and its walls periodically painted. Another local Nadeem Khan, a former local municipal ward member, said, “Locals pool in money ahead of Diwali every year to get it whitewashed. They make it a point to keep it clean every day.”
Ahmed said that the temple, however, does not have an idol. There used to be one before 1992. When the families left, they took away the idol with them too.