SC summons officials in temple attack case

Court orders crackdown on bandits operating in kathca area around Bhong village

Our Correspondent August 14, 2021
SupremeCourt of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP


The top court on Friday summoned the Bahawalpur commissioner and Rahim Yar Khan deputy commissioner while hearing the suo motu case of the attack on a Hindu temple in Bhong village.

A recent viral video clip showed people armed with clubs and rods storming the Shree Ganesh temple and smashing its doors, windows, lights, fans and religious idols – outraged over a local court granting bail to an eight-year-old Hindu boy — who had allegedly urinated at a seminary in the village.

The court also ordered action against the SHO, who had arrested the Hindu child.

It issued directions that a decision in the case should be made within four months by conducting the trial on a daily basis.

The court ordered the Punjab police chief to launch a crackdown on the bandits operating in the katcha area around Bhong village in collaboration with the provincial government.

The SC also directed the authorities concerned that an offer made by a landlord of the village to allocate five acres of land for a police station in the area be considered seriously.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed expressed his displeasure over the SHO, who had put a Hindu child in a lockup, being still at large.

“Only departmental action is not enough. He should be put behind bars,” he added.

The Punjab additional advocate general told the court that the provincial government had so far arrested 95 people in connection with the attack on the temple.

“The Punjab police have sought assistance from NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority] for facial recognition of these suspects,” he added.

CJP Gulzar reminded him that the faces of these people could be identified as they could be clearly seen in the footage of the attack being shown on TV and social media.

“You have sought NADRA’s help for identification of these suspects and now it’s up to the authority whether to respond to your request now or in two years,” the judge noted.

“The police’s job is not to write letters, but to take action.”

The CJP ordered action against the bandits operating in the katcha area of Rahim Yar Khan district so that peace could be restored there.

“Decades have passed since the creation of Pakistan and we still have not been able to get rid of these lawless elements,” he regretted.

When the Punjab additional advocate general pointed out that the katcha area extended into Sindh, the CJP observed that the desired results could be achieved if both the federating units, Punjab and Sindh, take joint action against the bandits.

The apex court ordered the identification of the suspects rounded up in connection with the attack in one week and release those found innocent.

It also directed that a challan should be presented in the trial court later.

The CJP noted that the court had been informed that the interior of the temple had been restored to its original position. “Now its exterior should be renovated in one month,” he added.


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