The state of madness we have slipped into as a society is rather deplorable and the descent has taken a toll on ethical and moral values. The degree of hatred directed towards minority communities demonstrates just how depraved we have become and the extent to which we have alienated ourselves from all sense of rationality and logical reasoning.
The latest of many incidents of persecution against minority communities came in the Gorgathri district of Peshawar, where the 160-year-old Goraknath Hindu temple was vandalised when unknown individuals entered it in the early hours of morning, on May 20. When it was opened for prayer in the evening, the place had been ransacked. Sacred statues, Holy Scriptures and pictures placed inside had been destroyed, while the perpetrators were able to escape undetected. The police have lodged an FIR on the basis of complaints by the Hindu community. The historic temple, which had remained closed for 60 years, had opened only recently in October last year, following a ruling by a two-member Peshawar High Court bench arguing that despite the existing dispute over ownership, people could not be denied the right to worship at the temple.
But this basic right to practise one’s religion has now been snatched away by men who took matters into their own hands. It is not known who they are, but one can only assume they most likely had extremist links. It is difficult to fathom what they hold against a miniscule religious minority which presents no apparent threat to them and had been engaged with the temple, quietly and peacefully over time. The degree of intolerance we have built within our society is frightening and the incident in Peshawar is the latest manifestation of this. The demonstrations of hatred we see every now and then, at increasingly regular intervals, are still growing and will not end until the culprits in this case — and others like it — are apprehended and penalised under the relevant laws in order to deter others from taking similar action.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2012.