ISLAMABAD: The patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, brought to the Supreme Court’s notice on Monday repeated incidents of desecration of Hindu temples in the country.
At the last hearing on Feb 11, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk had asked Mr Vankwani to submit in writing alleged excesses aimed at defiling the places of worship of Hindus.
The court had taken up a matter relating to implementation of a set of guidelines handed down in a June 19, 2014 judgment on minority rights.
On Monday, Mr Vankwani, a PML-N MNA from Tharparkar, submitted two applications, one requesting the court to take notice of desecration of temples and the other seeking an order for the government to submit details about measures being taken to protect the premises sacred to the minority communities.
In the first application, he said that between January and February a number of incidents of desecration took place in Sindh. Some elements damaged idols at the Hinglaj temple at Makli in Thatta district. Radha Krishan temple on Mirpurkhas Road in Hyderabad was attacked and two women were injured.
Likewise, some people tried to take possession of a temple in a colony in Hyderabad’s Fateh Chowk area despite the fact that it had been in possession of the Hindu community for the past 100 years.
Mr Vankwani alleged that authorities were reluctant to arrest those involved in attacking four temples in Sindh — Hanuman Mandir in Hyderabad, Dharamshala in Larkana, a Mandir in Madeji area of Shikarpur district and Parbriham Mandir in Vehri Jhup area of Mithi district.
Despite the apex court’s earlier directives, he regretted, the possession of Samadhi of Shri Parm Hans Ji Maharaj in Teri village of Karak district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was still with a local influential.
On June 7 last year, the court had directed KP Chief Minister Parvez Khattak to immediately intervene and amicably resolve a controversy over the construction of a temple which had almost created a law and order situation in the village.
According to a Feb 2014 letter submitted by the KP government to the court, the shrine was constructed at a place in Teri village where Shri Parm Hans Ji died and buried in 1919.
The letter was written by the Karak deputy commissioner to the deputy secretary (judicial) of the home department, Peshawar.
Shri Parm Hans Ji’s followers used to visit the place to pay their respects and this practice continued till 1997 when some fanatics dismantled the temple.
His followers attempted to build the Mandir at the place allegedly occupied by a local influential, despite the fact that the property belongs to the Auqaf department for being an evacuee property.
In the second application, Dr Vankwani said that despite the court’s directives in the June 19 judgment, no steps appeared to have been taken by the government.
He said the federal and provincial governments should be asked to inform the court how many places of worship of minorities had been registered and what security measures taken to protect them.
The application also sought details about advertisements published from May 2014 to date to recruit members of minority communities under the five per cent reserved quota for jobs. It asked what measures had been taken for developing appropriate curricula at the school and college levels to promote culture of religious and social tolerance as directed by the court.
The application requested the court to ask the federal government what measures had been taken to promulgate the Hindu Marriage Act as well as the steps taken by the Sindh government to hand over the Karachi Hindu Gymkhana back to the Hindu community.
Published in Dawn February 17th , 2015