Four young trespassers who had confessed to sneaking into a Hindu temple to steal the cash presented to deities as offering by the faithful in Premo-Ji-Vary village on the outskirts of Sindh's Chhachhro town a few days ago were set free on Saturday after the complainant withdrew the charges against them.
The complainant in the case, Prem Kumar, withdrew the charges against the minor boys at the request of leaders of the local Hindu panchayat as a "goodwill gesture".
The four boys aged 12-15 years, who are students of a primary school in the same village, were arrested late on Monday night by Chhachhro police with the help of the village’s footprint trackers.
They had confessed to having stolen cash from the money box placed in the temple. Initial reports had suggested that the intruders also caused damage to some idols of deities.
The incident had created an uproar in the desert region with members of the Sindh cabinet and lawmakers joining the chorus of condemnation and calls for stern action against the culprits.
Police had registered a First Information Report against the minor suspects on Kumar's complaint under various sections, including 295, of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The boys, who were sent to a juvenile school in Hyderabad on the orders of a local court, were produced in the district and sessions court of Mithi today. The court ordered their release after Kumar submitted an application during the hearing withdrawing the charges against them.
Advocate Veerji Kolhi, special assistant to Sindh chief minister on human rights, while talking to Dawn said that the elders of the Hindu panchayat had asked the complainant to forgive the school children as a "goodwill gesture". He added that he expected a similar gesture from the Muslim community in the blasphemy case registered against a senior Hindu teacher in Ghotki district.
Kolhi praised the step taken by the elders of the area for "interfaith harmony" in Thar.
When contacted, Tharparkar SSP Abdullah Ahmedyar said that the FIR registered against the boys will be quashed in the wake of today's court orders.