The Supreme Court on Friday directed the inspector general of Punjab Police to apprehend offenders who vandalised a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan a day earlier whereas the provincial chief secretary has been ordered to ensure rehabilitation of the temple.
Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmad took suo motu notice after a mob vandalised the Shree Ganesh temple in Bhong village of Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab on Thursday and summoned provincial chief secretary and IGP in the matter. A division bench of Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed took up the case at the request of Pakistan Hindu Council Chairperson Dr Ramesh Kumar – who was also present in the court. The bench sought a progress report from both the high officials of the province who will submit the report on August 13.
Expressing dismay over negligence of local police for detaining a minor of eight year boy under the alleged blasphemy charges the Chief Justice observed an eight year old child has no comprehension of religion adding whether the cops who put the minor behind the bars have no children of their own. The Chief Justice criticised the local police for registering a case against the minor and arresting him for alleged blasphemy observing, “Does an eight-year-old child know the difference between a Hindu and a Muslim,”.
During the proceedings, responding to the bench directives, provincial police chief Inam Ghani submitted that concerned SHO shall be dismissed for arresting the child over alleged blasphemy charges and a departmental inquiry will be initiated against him. The CJP observed that the government officials enjoy suspension as they still get paid. A viral video clip showed people armed with clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its doors, windows, lights, fans and religious idols.
During the proceedings, the top judge remarked the government should recover money for the repair and restoration of the temple from the accused persons. Showing displeasure over lacklustre performance of police and district administration in avoidance of the heinous happening in the vicinity the Chief Justice observed, “What were the police and local authorities doing at the time of the attack on the temple,”.
Responding to a query of the top court, IGP Inam Ghani submitted that the assistant commissioner and assistant superintendent police (ASP) were present on the spot saying they were prioritizing to protect at least 70 residences of Hindu community located around the temple. The CJP said that if the administration – commissioner, deputy commissioner, and the district police officer – could not perform their duties then they should be removed from their respective posts.
The CJP said police officials did nothing while the temple was being razed and added that the incident has tarnished Pakistan’s image across the world. Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed reprimanded the IGP that police have not made any arrests despite the passage of three days. The CJP wondered what would have been the reaction of Muslims had a mosque been demolished in a similar fashion.
The CJP wondered what the Hindu community had felt when their temple was being demolished. During the hearing, Additional Attorney General for Pakistan Sohail Mahmood apprised the bench that Prime Minister Imran Khan has also taken notice of the incident. Ramesh Kumar said that Abdul Razzaq Soomro, who incited the mob, has not been arrested as of yet. “An eight-year-old boy urinated in his clothes after he was beaten up in the mosque,” he said, adding that the details of the incident were distorted to incite hatred.
The writer heads a leading news wire service ‘The Law Today Pakistan’ commonly known as TLTP. He has a special focus on news relating to superior courts adjudication, access to right of information, civil, political, social and economic rights under the approach that existing cyber regime realization ensures procedural fairness in administrative law. He can be reached at email@example.com