Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The registered trustees of Indian temples under their umbrella body, BAPS Charities Uganda, on Sunday surrendered two plots of land to Gulu Senior Secondary School.
The two plots valued at 500 million shillings are located in Bardege-Layibi division, Gulu city, and were split from an acre-piece land that the Indian Hindu sect acquired in 1963 to build a temple for worship.
However, when Asians were expelled from Uganda in 1972, the registered board of trustees of BAPS were forced to vacate the land following directives of the then sitting government of late President Idi Amin Dada.
Irene Mwaka, the school head-teacher says after the Asians vacated the land, Gulu Secondary School seized the opportunity and occupied the land.
However, when the Indians returned, they were denied access and repossession of the property on grounds that the land was being utilized for public and common good, in the form of a secondary school educating Ugandan children.
The school was supposed to vacate BAPS premises in 2010, however to date, the school still occupies the premises. The Indians opted to seek redress from courts of law, and in September 2011, they sued the school.
In 2012, the then Gulu Resident Judge Simon Byamukama Mugenyi advised both parties to enter into mediation to which both parties agreed.
Alfred Kyaka, an Assistant Commissioner in-charge of Government Secondary Education says that as part of the requirements during the mediation process, the Ministry of Education and Sports paid BAPS 638 million shillings in rent arrears that had accrued for 27 years.
Patel Ghanshyam, the Chairperson of BAPS in Uganda said they agreed to settle the matter out of court and donated the land in question to promote education in the region.
The State Minister of Education and Sports, Denis Hamson Obua thanked both parties for settling the matter out of court.