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SC orders authorities to start rebuilding Hindu shrine in two weeks

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has directed relevant authorities to start restoration work of Hindu shrine in two weeks besides summoning details of all temples from the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), ARY News reported on Tuesday.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the suo motu notice over the tragic incident of vandalism at the shrine of a Hindu saint in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Karak district.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that it was a sorrowful incident and the mob kept vandalising everything in the Hindu shrine.

CJP questioned how the police allowed the mob to enter the shrine’s premises instead of controlling the situation. To this, KP advocate general replied that it was unfortunate that the police had not taken any action. CJP said that the writ of the state should be maintained.

Read: Karak incident: Pakistan rejects unwarranted assertions by Indian MEA

KP advocate general said that Molvi Sharif had been arrested on his involvement in the incident. The representative of KP police told the court that those police officials showed negligence on the scene have been suspended and complaints were also registered against them.

The KP chief secretary apprised the court that a contingent of 100 security personnel has been deployed on the Hindu shrine and the building will be restored by the government.

The chief justice remarked that the expenditures to restore the site should be received from the responsible persons. The chief secretary said that the Samadhi will be restored immediately at the government’s expenditures and compensation money will be received from the responsible persons.

The chairman of minorities’ commission said that ETPB authorities should takeover adjoining area of the shrine. Shoaib Suddle said that the prime accused of setting Samadhi on fire was Molvi Sharif and he hopes that he will not get bail easily.

Read: Govt to rebuild damaged Karak Hindu temple: KP CM

A Member of the National Assembly (MNA) and Pakistan Hindu Council chief Ramesh Kumar said that the community organises two major festivals at the shrine that are being attended by around 400 people. He said that Molvi Sharif had vandalised the shrine in 1997 as well, however, ETPB authorities had not restored the site despite getting orders from the court.

Kumar apprised the apex court that the Hindu council spent Rs40 million funds to restore the Samadhi. The provincial police chief was given the responsibility to hold inquiry of the Karak incident.

He detailed that around 1,830 temples and Gurdwaras including 31 functional sites are located in Pakistan. The lawmaker thanked the apex court for giving importance and respect to the rights of minorities.

Justice Amin expressed outrage and remarked that ETPB possesses money to construct its own buildings but the institution did not spend the funds where it is needed.

The top court directed the relevant authorities to start rebuilding the Hindu shrine in two weeks and directed ETPB to provide details of all functional and non-functional temples.

Read: CJP takes notice of vandalism at Karak Hindu shrine

Later, the court adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

Earlier on December 31, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) had taken notice of a tragic incident of vandalism at the shrine of a Hindu saint in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Karak district.

Dr Ramesh Kumar, MNA and Patron in Chief Pakistan Hindu Council, had been called on the chief justice at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry and raised the issue of “desecration/burning of shrine of Hindu saint Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj” by a mob in Karak on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the SC.

CJP Ahmed had shown grave concern over the tragic incident and informed the member of Parliament that he has already taken cognizance of the matter and has fixed it before a bench for hearing on Jan 5 (Tuesday).

The country’s top adjudicator issued directions to the one-man commission on minorities rights, KPK chief secretary and IGP to visit the site of the shrine and submit a report on Monday.

According to reports, a mob had set the shrine of the Hindu saint on fire and demolished several of its parts in Teri area of Karak.

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