FAMILY TOLD TO LEAVE HINDU TEMPLE
In a judgment, described yesterday as an “Indian Arrival Day victory,” High Court judge Joan Charles yesterday ruled on a longstanding feud within a Tunapuna family over the control of one of the oldest Hindu temples in T&T. In her ruling, Charles said Goomtie Gosine had established no claim of ownership of the Tunapuna Hindu Temple and ordered she and her family vacate the premises within three months.
Gosine’s action, which had been ongoing for the past six years, listed her sister-in-law Omatie Gosine as the respondent. The controversial temple was built by the Gosines’ ancestor, Pundit Mahat Jairam Gosine, on the Eastern Main Road, Tunapuna, after he arrived from India in November 1896. The temple is said to have the longest running tradition of service to the Hindu community and is said to be over 100 years old.
After she delivered her judgment, Omatie’s attorney, Martin George, asked Charles to make an order preventing any damage to the property during the three-month period allowed to Goomtie. Charles warned the temple must not be damaged, destroyed or desecrated during the move, to “maintain the sanctity and dignity” of the sacred place.
The action was brought in 2008 during a lengthy family dispute after Goomtie’s husband died. Omatie countered her sister-in-law’s action, claiming her relatives had been abused and threatened by the rival faction. After the ruling, in an interview with reporters, George said: “It is a fitting tribute that this is the Indian Arrival Day that our clients have got the victory and the judgment.”
An emotional Omatie said she was extremely happy with the decision. She said she and her siblings were looking forward to bringing back the temple to its original condition, so the community could enjoy its rich legacy again. Goomtie was represented by attorneys Azeem Mohammed and Anthony Manwah.
Extracted From: Trinidad Guardian Newspaper