Keys handed over to Hindu leaders
The Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan’s Bhong, attacked by a mob earlier this month, has been restored and handed over to the Pakistan Hindu Council.
On August 5, a video of charged men attacking a mandir went viral on social media. They broke the windows and shouted Allah-o-Akbar as they vandalised the temple. The court ordered the immediate arrest of the accused in the temple attack.
On Tuesday, Rahim Yar Khan Deputy Commissioner Khurram Shehzad, the Pakistan Army, and Rangers personnel visited Bhong and handed over the keys of the temple to local Hindu leaders.
“A boundary wall has been constructed outside the temple and repairs of the mandir’s exteriors have been completed,” Shehzad said. “The cost incurred in its renovation will be recovered by the attackers.”
The district administration has devised a security plan for the temple and the people living in nearby areas.
“Repairs of the idols destroyed inside the temple will take some time,” Hindu Council spokesperson Lal Das Soni said. “Experts have been called in and it’s expected that the renovation will take at least two months.”
Hindus will resume religious activities at the temple after the idols are repaired.
Soni added that the attack is one example of a major challenge, which can’t be countered in a day. “All of us, Hindus and Muslims, live here like brothers. The people who attacked the mandir weren’t believers. They had nothing to do with religion.”
According to the police, around 10 days before the attack, a seminary or madrassa teacher lodged a complaint that a young non-Muslim boy entered the seminary and desecrated it. The police registered a case and arrested the boy.
He was, however, released on bail in a few days. In protest, a mob shut down the city and blocked the M5 motorway. The police tried to negotiate with the protesters but failed. Consequently, the protesters attacked the temple.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the attack on the temple and showed “grave concern over the tragic incident”.
On August 6, the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice of the vandalism.
“A temple was vandalised. What was the administration and police doing?” Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad asked. Imagine what would have happened if any mosque had been demolished.
A case was registered by the Punjab police and provisions of terrorism have been added.