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Tuesday October 26, 2021

Burning Hindu shrine: Supreme Court orders recovery of Rs30.3m rebuilding cost from accused

October 14, 2021
Burning Hindu shrine: Supreme Court orders recovery of Rs30.3m rebuilding cost from accused

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Wednesday directed the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government to take within one month money from the people involved in desecration/burning of shrine of Hindu saint Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj in Karak district.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard a suo motu case of the desecration/burning of shrine of Hindu saint Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj by a mob in Karak as well as minorities rights case.

Advocate General Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Shumail Ahmed Butt submitted before the court that a total of Rs30.3 million were spent on the reconstruction and restoration of the abovementioned Hindu shrine. The chief justice directed the chief secretary to take within one month, the said amount from the people involved in the incident. KP Advocate General objected to the direction, however, the court rejected the objection raised by the provincial law officer.

The law officer told the court that on December 22 the Hindu community of the locality bought two properties from the local community and had entered an agreement stating that temple would not be constructed on the said properties.

The law officer further told the court that the Hindu community breached its agreement and constructed the shrine that provoked the local community for taking action. Objecting to the court direction of recovering the amount from the people involved in the incident, the KP Advocate General contended that the trial against the accused persons was in progress, adding that if anyone proved innocent after the trial then what would be the matter of that money, which was to be taken from those persons. The chief justice however, while admonishing the law officer said it was the court order.

Representative of Hindu Community MNA Ramesh Kumar told the court that the passage of the shrine is being blocked and it was told to talk to the local clerics.

The chief justice said they would be tackled with when they appeared before the court, adding that the Hindu community could extend the site of shrine as per its choice.

One Rehmat Salamat Khattak, who was nominated as an accused in the matter, told the court that he had nothing to do with the desecration of the shrine and he was innocent, adding that he along with other 100 persons was arrested. He told the court that in fact he was asking the mob not to damage the shrine.

Meanwhile, the court directed the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa chief secretary to take money within one month from the persons involved in the incident. On December 31, the chief justice had taken suo motu notice of the incident and had directed the one-man commission on minorities’ rights, KP chief secretary and IGP to visit the site and submit compliance report. The court had directed the chief secretary to ensure completion of reconstruction of shrine in six months and restraining the Hindu community from interfering in the process.