Supreme Court to take up temple vandalising case today

Aug 6, 2021: The Supreme court will take up the case of a hindu temple vandalized in the wake of young boy getting bail for allegedly desecrating seminary.

The country’s top judge on Thursday took notice of the demolition of a Hindu temple in Bhong village in Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan district when an eight-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated in a madrassa, was granted bail one day earlier.

The matter came to the notice of Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed when the patron of Pakistan Hindu Council, MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani called on him in Islamabad to discuss the issue.

According to a statement issued by the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice expressed “grave concern over the tragic incident” and settled the matter before the court on Friday (today), directing the Punjab Chief Secretary and Chief of Police to hold a hearing. MNA Vankwani has also been summoned.

A one-member commission on minority rights of the Supreme Court headed by Dr Shoaib Suddle has also sought a report from Deputy Commissioner Rahim Yar Khan. The commission directed the Punjab government to ensure foolproof measures to secure the places of worship of all religious minorities as directed by the apex court.

The agency also directed authorities to assess the damage and take steps to repair it on a priority basis.

The boy, Bhavish Kumar Meghwar, had accidentally entered a Bhong madrassa on July 24.

His Maulvi Hafiz Mohammad Ibrahim tortured the eight-year-old boy. Meghwar allegedly urinated out of fear of Maulvi’s anger. The boy then ran away and hid before Maulvi could catch him.

The next day, Maulvi went to a village police station and lodged an FIR against the boy. Since the boy was only eight years old, an FIR was registered against an unknown person.

The FIR was registered under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (intentional and malicious acts insulting the religion or religious beliefs of any class).

Police produced Meghawar in court a few days later, where he was granted bail. Following the court’s decision, a mob of youths gathered and vandalized the village’s Shri Ganesh Temple.

A viral video clip shows people armed with clubs and bars storming the temple, smashing its doors, windows, lights, fans and idols. They also blocked Sukkur-Multan Motorway. Hindus in the area reported the matter to police, who reportedly did not take the reports seriously.

When police arrived at the scene, the temple and most of its idols were damaged or destroyed. The mob dispersed soon after the police arrived.

The Hindu residents of Bhong – about 150 families – are scared and upset after the incident.

Taking note of the incident, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the IG Punjab to arrest the accused. I strongly condemn the attack on the Ganesh Temple. I have already asked the IG Punjab to ensure the arrest of all the culprits and take action against any negligence on the part of the police. The government will also restore the temple, “he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shirin Mazari condemned the incident on her Twitter handle, adding that the incident violated our constitution and the basic human rights of our citizens.

The minister added that she was in touch with Rahim Yar Khan police to take action against the culprits. Mazari also said that the parliamentary secretary would visit the area.

Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Religious Harmony Tahir Ashrafi also condemned the vandalism at the temple. “Those who behave in this way are not representatives of Islam, Muslims or Pakistan,” he told a news conference on Thursday. According to Ashrafi, legal action against the culprits is being taken on the direct orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan and an FIR has also been registered.

Ashrafi said that Pakistani law is for all citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims. The reaction to breaking the law should not be disrespect, destruction and fighting.

The PM’s representative added that repairs to the temple’s damage had begun.

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