Top court seeks timeline for Karak temple rebuilding

CJ Gulzar orders K-P govt to start work on the shrine immediately


Our Correspondent February 09, 2021
Resentful local residents attacked a Hindu temple in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's Karak district on December 30, 2020. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government to immediately start rebuilding the Karak temple, which was burnt by an enraged mob, and submit a timeline for its completion.

On December 30, 2020, a Hindu shrine in K-P’s Karak district was set on fire and severely damaged by a mob. Earlier in January, the Supreme Court had ordered the provincial government to recover the money for the construction of the temple from those who had burnt it.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the suo motu case regarding the burning of a Hindu temple in Karak.

During the proceedings, Chief Justice Gulzar said, “Inform us if any recovery or arrest has been made on the temple issue in K-P?

Evacuee Trust Property Board lawyer Ikram Chaudhry apprised the bench that no recovery has been made so far on the temple issue.

Read More: No ‘expansion’ planned in Hindu temple reconstruction

“The government had approved Rs30.41 million for the reconstruction of the temple,” Chaudhry informed the bench.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked said that the court had ordered to recover the money from those who burnt the temple so that they could learn a lesson.

CJ Gulzar remarked, “Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman should be summoned and a detailed report containing all the progress made so far be submitted in court.”

Ramesh Kumar, head of the Hindu Council and a member of the National Assembly, adopted the stance that the K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had said that the Karak area was sensitive and that the reconstruction of the temple in Karak should be done by the Hindu community.

“The K-P government will later reimburse the cost of building the temple.”

The K-P additional advocate general said that according to the law, tender should be issued for the reconstruction of the temple.

Justice Gulzar directed authorities to ensure that the Prahladpuri temple in Multan is prepared for the Holi festival falling on March 28.

The chief justice directed the Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman, Punjab IG and chief secretary to ensure security at the Multan shrine.

The bench summoned the Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman on the next hearing and adjourned the suo motu case till next Monday.

Background

A mob, reportedly led by clerics, vandalised a Hindu temple in the southern Karak district of K-P. The temple, though no longer functional, was considered a revered pilgrimage site by the Hindu community.

Residents in the Terri area of Karak were not happy with the ongoing renovation and extension of the temple which is why they vandalised it before setting it on fire. The mob was too big for the local administration and police to confront.

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