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Saturday November 27, 2021

Rahim Yar Khan temple attack: CJP lashes out at police, orders culprits to be arrested

"What were the police and administration doing?" asks Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed

By Web Desk
August 06, 2021
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed. File photo
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Incensed by the lack of action taken by police over the Rahim Yar Khan temple desecration, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed Friday directed Punjab Police to arrest all responsible for the incident.

The chief justice had taken suo moto notice of the attack on the temple in Rahim Yar Khan after meeting with MNA and Patron-in-Chief Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar. 

A mob armed with sticks and shouting slogans had vandalised a Hindu temple in Bhong, Rahim Yar Khan on Wednesday.  The mob was seen shouting slogans and desecrating idols in the place of worship. 

A video clip of the incident went viral on social media, drawing sharp criticism from rights activists in Pakistan.

Justice Gulzar had shown concern over the tragic incident and summoned the chief secretary Punjab and IGP Punjab to appear at the apex court and submit a report on the incident.

During the hearing today, the CJP expressed displeasure over the incident and reprimanded the officials, saying the attack has done serious damage to Pakistan's reputation around the globe.

“What were the police and administration doing?” the CJP asked.

To this, IGP Inam Ghani said the assistant commissioner and ASP were present at the scene, and that the administration’s priority was to provide security to the 70 Hindu families near the temple.

“Terrorism clauses have been added in the FIR,” he added.

“If the deputy commissioner and the DPO cannot perform their duties, they should be fired,” CJP Gulzar stressed.

IG Inam Ghani informed the court that no arrests have been made so far in connection with the case when Justice Qazi Amin asked as to what action had the police taken.

Additional Attorney General Sohail Mehmood said Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken notice of the matter. At this, CJP Gulzar said the court would focus on the legal perspective of the case.

“Three days have passed, but no one has been arrested,” said the chief justice, disappointed.

Justice Amin said police has failed to perform their duty.

“Had there been professional officers in the force, the issue would have been solved by now,” the top judge observed, adding that one should ponder over how the incident has impacted Pakistani Hindus.

“Think, how would Muslims have reacted if a mosque was attacked,” he remarked.

He also inquired about an 8-year-old Hindu boy who was arrested by the police. The Punjab police chief informed the bench that the boy was presented before a magistrate first.

“What do you expect from an 8-year-old? What does an 8-year-old know about religion? Do the police have any idea about the mind of a young kid?”

At this, Justice Gulzar ordered to remove the SHO who arrested the boy. 

Issuing directives to take action against the culprits, the Supreme Court ordered the officials to submit a report on the next hearing, which has been scheduled on August 13.

The SC has also ordered to establish Peace Committees to ensure religious harmony among followers of different faiths.

MNAs criticize the Temple Attack 

Pakistani lawmakers at the National Assembly denounced the Rahim Yar Khan attack, saying that such incidents were unfortunate.

"No arrests have been made yet neither did any government officials arrive at the place," said PML-N MNA Khael Das Kohistani. "We want the interior minister and the prime minister to tell us why no one has been arrested."

PTI MNA Jai Prakash said the temple was desecrated due to the police's negligence, adding that the incident took place three days ago. "Prime Minister Imran Khan took immediate notice of the incident," he added.

"This is a conspiracy, the PTI government stands with the Hindu minority," PTI MNA Shunila Ruth said. 

she added that when the Bhong temple incident took place, she was speaking online to the DPO Punjab and IG Punjab.

Another MNA, Lal Chand Malhi, said these incidents were "backed by a plan", adding that the main objective of such incidents is to defame Pakistan.

"An FIR has been registered, I hope the culprits are arrested as well," he said.

PPP MNA Mahesh Kumar Malani urged legislators of other political parties, namely the PML-N, JUI-F and others to speak on the issue as well.

"Everyone in the assembly will speak about this incident," responded Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri.