New Delhi: Days after a mob vandalised a Hindu temple in Bhong town of Rahim Yar Khan district in Punjab province, the Supreme Court of Pakistan censured the police for failing to safeguard the religious site, Dawn newspaper reported.
Hearing the matter on Friday, the court ordered immediate arrests of the culprits and restoration of the temple as he said the incident damaged Pakistan’s reputation at an international level.
On Wednesday, a mob comprising hundreds of people vandalised the temple in Bhong and also blocked a road in the area after a local court granted bail to a nine-year-old Hindu boy who had been arrested for allegedly urinating inside a local seminary.
With the Pakistan Hindu Council’s patron-in-chief, Dr Ramesh Kumar, calling on Pakistan Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed to draw his attention to the incident, the top court took suo motu notice of the incident Thursday, the Dawn report said.
Punjab’s chief secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani was asked to appear before the apex court along with a report on the incident.
Earlier, responding to the attack on the Hindu temple, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday condemned the incident and assured that action would be taken against the miscreants.
IGP, chief secretary asked to submit progress report in a week
Replying to the court’s query as to what the administration and the police were doing when the temple was attacked, Ghani said the “administration’s priority was to protect 70 Hindu homes around the temple”. He also said terrorism clauses had been added in the FIR.
The chief justice went on to say the senior officials of the administration should be removed if they “can’t perform”, the report said.
“The police did nothing except [for] watching the spectacle.”
No arrests have been made so far in connection with the incident that took place three days ago.
Commenting on this, the chief justice said the police lacked “enthusiasm”. He also said the matter would have been resolved by now “if there were professionals in the police force”, according to the report.
“[A] Hindu temple was demolished. Think [about] what they must have felt. Imagine what would have been the reaction of Muslims, had a mosque been demolished,” he remarked.
Stating that the culprits roaming free could cause problems for the Hindus in the area, the court sought assurances that such incidents are not repeated. It also asked the IGP and the chief secretary concerned to submit a progress report within a week and said village committees be formed to maintain peace and religious harmony.
The next hearing is on August 13.