RAHIM YAR KHAN: Police arrested on Saturday 30 more suspects for their alleged involvement in the attack on a Hindu temple in Bhong town, some 60km from here, taking the total number of arrests in the case to 52.
District Police Officer Asad Sarfraz told Dawn that more than 150 persons were wanted in three different FIRs registered of the incident. He added that police raids were on to arrest the remaining suspects.
The DPO said besides the information provided by intelligence agencies, the police were also using the videos clips of the attack uploaded on social media to identify the culprits.
In a statement from Lahore, Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani said 52 of the miscreants involved in the attack on the temple, including the main accused, had been arrested.
He said police teams were conducting search operations in different areas of the district to arrest the remaining accused.
Reconstitution of district peace committee sought
He said the arrested accused were produced before the anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur which sent them to jail on judicial remand. An RYK police spokesman said 36 of the arrested were produced before the ATC.
He said the temple restoration work had been started which would be completed in the next few days while all the expenses incurred on the restoration would be recovered from the accused. The IGP said the prime minister and chief minister were being kept informed of the progress.
On the other hand, some local religious leaders condemned the attack on the temple and stressed the need for restructuring the District Peace Committee (DPC) to avert such incidents in future.
Jamiat Ullema Islam (JUI) leader Allama Nouman Ludhyanvi said a truly representative body of all religious schools of thought and faiths could have help averted the unrest and violence in Bhong town. He regretted that many members of the DPC did not actually represent their respective parties and sects.
He was of the view that if the DPC had timely intervened, the Bhong incident would not have happened.
On the other hand, Riaz Noori, divisional president of the Jamiat Ulema e Pakistan (JUP), who is also a member of the DPC, claimed that the committee comprising 46 members was working properly.
He alleged that the police and the district administration did not take the DPC members on board timely with regard to the incident. He said had the committee members been taken on board, the ugly incident could have been averted.
Meanwhile, a Hindu Scheduled Caste leader Guru Sukh Dev Jee said that 50 out of total 125 Hindu families living in Bhong town had moved to other places following the incident, fearing violence, and efforts were being made to bring them back as the situation had normalised there.
He expressed satisfaction over the part of local Hindu community over the arrangements made by the government for the restoration of the temple damaged in the attack and their security.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2021