CJP takes notice of attack on Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan

Published August 5, 2021
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has taken notice of the attack on a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan. — APP/File
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has taken notice of the attack on a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan. — APP/File

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday took notice of the attack on a Hindu temple by a charged mob in Bhong village of Punjab's Rahim Yar Khan district, a statement said.

The top judge took cognisance of the incident after MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, called on Chief Justice Ahmed at the Supreme Court in Islamabad today to discuss the issue of the temple attack.

The chief justice "showed grave concern over the tragic incident", according to a press released issued by the Supreme Court.

He fixed the matter before the court on August 6 (tomorrow) at Islamabad, and directed the Punjab chief secretary and inspector general of police to appear for the hearing along with a report. Dr Vankwani has also been summoned, the statement added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet strongly condemned the attack on the temple.

"I have already asked IG Punjab to ensure arrest of all culprits and take action against any police negligence," he wrote, adding that the government would also restore the mandir.

The incident took place on Wednesday, when hundreds of people vandalised the Hindu temple in Bhong and blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5) after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated in a local seminary, was granted bail by a local court.

Responding to the situation late in the evening, the district administration deployed Rangers in the area after Deputy Commissioner Dr Khuram Shehzad and District Police Officer Asad Sarfraz visited the town.

On the complaint of a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran, the Bhong police had registered a case against the boy (who was not named) under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code on July 25.

Sources said some Hindu elders tendered an apology to the seminary administration, saying the suspect was a minor and mentally challenged. But when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest.

A video clip that went viral on social media showed charged people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows and lights, and damaging the ceiling fans and idols.

Later, the protesters also blocked the M-5 motorway for more than three hours.

District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.

About the alleged late response by the police authorities, sources said senior officials were busy attending the police martyrs’ day ceremonies.

Cheema confirmed that the suspect was a minor, saying he had no information about his mental health so far.

There were reports of some old monetary dispute between Hindu and Muslim groups in the area which was stated to be the actual cause of the unrest.

A PTI member representing minorities said after getting the Bhong market closed, the mob also tried to attack some houses of people belonging to the Hindu community.

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