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Karak temple vandalism: SC commission recommends ‘exemplary punishment’ for culprits

The temple was attacked, set ablaze on December 31

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 10 months ago
Posted: Jan 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 10 months ago

A policeman inspects the burnt Hindu temple a day after a mob attack in a remote village in Karak district, some 160 kms southeast of Peshawar on December 31, 2020. Photo: AFP

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The one-man commission on the rights of minorities at the Supreme Court submitted Monday its report on the Karak temple vandalism. Dr Muhammad Shoaib Suddle prepared the report on the orders of the top court. On December 31, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed took suo motu notice of people setting fire to a temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district a day before. The commission recommended a comprehensive investigation into the vandalism at the temple. The statements of all witnesses should be recorded and evidence gathered against the culprits. Maulvi Sharif, the main suspect in the case, incited people to violence, the report said. The record of the temple land at the time of Partition should be looked into too and ensure that the record has not been tampered with. The home department should take steps to stop the entry of 'suspicious people' inside the temple. Exemplary punishment should be handed out to suspects to prevent such incidents in future, the report recommended/ Ramesh Kumar and the KP chief secretary have visited the temple. The KP IG is investigating the role of the police. The KP government and auqaf department should relinquish the possession of temple land and steps should be taken to construct freshwater wells and gardens at the temple. The report recommends that Hindus in the area should be given the rights enshrined to them under the Constitution. It even said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Krishna Dwara temple, Balochistan's Hinglaj Mata Temple, and Punjab's Katas Raj Temple in Chakwal district, and Prahalad Bhagat temple in Multan should be declared as religious sites and they should be opened for international tourists. All four religious places should be provided security like Kartarpur Gurdwara, the report added. Krishna Dwara set ablaze The Krishna Dwara temple, situated in Karak’s Teri union council, was attacked by hundreds of residents who set fire to the building. They surrounded and vandalised the temple for hours but the police were missing from the scene. The hundreds of residents, who attacked the temple, were led by cleric Maulana Muhammad Sharif, the police said. Advocate Rohit Kumar, a representative of the Hindu community, said the residents violated the agreement by vandalising the temple. But Muslim residents of the area claimed that the Hindu community was illegally expanding the temple building. They said the matter was reported to the police too. In July 1919, Guru Sri Paramhans Dayal was laid to rest at the site and a temple was built there. Muslim residents of the area closed the temple after the Partition in 1947. In 2015, the Krishna Dwara temple was restored on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Hindus and the Muslims signed an agreement on December 22 agreeing that the renovation of the temple would not exceed the specified area. KP suspends policemen On Sunday, eight police personnel, including the SHO and DSP, were suspended for failing to stop the attack. DIG Kohat Tayyab Hafeez Cheema suspended the personnel. DSP Sher Afzal and SHO Rehmat Wazir were suspended for negligence. The police have so far arrested 31 people in the case. IG Sanaullah Abbasi told reporters in Karak that at least 300 people have been nominated in the FIR. Of them, 31 have been arrested while others are being identified with the help of the video footage.
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The one-man commission on the rights of minorities at the Supreme Court submitted Monday its report on the Karak temple vandalism.

Dr Muhammad Shoaib Suddle prepared the report on the orders of the top court. On December 31, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed took suo motu notice of people setting fire to a temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district a day before.

The commission recommended a comprehensive investigation into the vandalism at the temple. The statements of all witnesses should be recorded and evidence gathered against the culprits.

Maulvi Sharif, the main suspect in the case, incited people to violence, the report said. The record of the temple land at the time of Partition should be looked into too and ensure that the record has not been tampered with.

The home department should take steps to stop the entry of ‘suspicious people’ inside the temple. Exemplary punishment should be handed out to suspects to prevent such incidents in future, the report recommended/

Ramesh Kumar and the KP chief secretary have visited the temple. The KP IG is investigating the role of the police.

The KP government and auqaf department should relinquish the possession of temple land and steps should be taken to construct freshwater wells and gardens at the temple.

The report recommends that Hindus in the area should be given the rights enshrined to them under the Constitution.

It even said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Krishna Dwara temple, Balochistan’s Hinglaj Mata Temple, and Punjab’s Katas Raj Temple in Chakwal district, and Prahalad Bhagat temple in Multan should be declared as religious sites and they should be opened for international tourists.

All four religious places should be provided security like Kartarpur Gurdwara, the report added.

Krishna Dwara set ablaze

The Krishna Dwara temple, situated in Karak’s Teri union council, was attacked by hundreds of residents who set fire to the building. They surrounded and vandalised the temple for hours but the police were missing from the scene.

The hundreds of residents, who attacked the temple, were led by cleric Maulana Muhammad Sharif, the police said.

Advocate Rohit Kumar, a representative of the Hindu community, said the residents violated the agreement by vandalising the temple.

But Muslim residents of the area claimed that the Hindu community was illegally expanding the temple building. They said the matter was reported to the police too.

In July 1919, Guru Sri Paramhans Dayal was laid to rest at the site and a temple was built there. Muslim residents of the area closed the temple after the Partition in 1947.

In 2015, the Krishna Dwara temple was restored on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Hindus and the Muslims signed an agreement on December 22 agreeing that the renovation of the temple would not exceed the specified area.

KP suspends policemen

On Sunday, eight police personnel, including the SHO and DSP, were suspended for failing to stop the attack.

DIG Kohat Tayyab Hafeez Cheema suspended the personnel. DSP Sher Afzal and SHO Rehmat Wazir were suspended for negligence.

The police have so far arrested 31 people in the case. IG Sanaullah Abbasi told reporters in Karak that at least 300 people have been nominated in the FIR. Of them, 31 have been arrested while others are being identified with the help of the video footage.

 
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