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Supreme Court asks KP government to recover Rs 33 million in Karak temple case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a direction to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to recover Rs 33 million from the convicts. sabotage and fire A century-old samadhi (temple) of a Hindu saint in Teri village of Karak district.

A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, hearing a case related to incidents of vandalism in Hindu temples, issued the direction to the provincial government after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Advocate General Shumail Butt apprised the bench that 33 Millions were spent over Rs. On the rehabilitation and restoration of the temple, which was built before 1920.

The top court had taken cognizance of the Karak incident of December 30, 2021, when over 1,000 people, led by some local elders of a religious party, staged a protest and demanded that the temple be demolished before attacking it.

In a report submitted to the Supreme Court, Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) chief Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani alleged that the recovery of the cost of restoration was encouraged with the complete silence of the district administration on previous court decisions, led by Qari Faizulla. In 2010, miscreants, who were released on bail by an anti-terrorism court in Kohat, objected to the word “temple” written on the wall of the mausoleum. The suspect demanded that instead of the word ‘temple’, the word ‘temple’ be inscribed on the wall.

AG files three-page report on vandalism of centuries-old Hindu saint’s dargah in Karaki

The PHC’s report states: “It is really incomprehensible whether holy sites like temples, ashrams, gurudwaras, Krishna gates, marhis, darbars, tikanos, tirathas or samadhis were decided by these miscreants excited by the pathetic attitude of the administration. Will go.”

KP’s Advocate General explained to the Supreme Court that the accused involved in the vandalism were still facing trial, wondering what would happen if a person from whom the cost of restitution was later recovered was found innocent.

In its three-page report filed in the court, the KP Sarkar said that the convicts were arrested without wasting time, but they were granted bail by the courts. The SC was further informed that on February 12, 2021, notices for recovery of costs were served to all the detained suspects through the Kohat Jail Superintendent.

The official report said that a week before the incident, Teri Shanti Samiti and a lawyer, Rohit Kumar, had agreed that the Hindu community would use a piece of land purchased a year ago to build a residence, car park and courtyard etc. can do for But as per the bone report there was a dispute over the extension of the prayer area of ​​the temple as the Muslim population was against any expansion in the tomb area. Undoing a separate wall between the mausoleum and the additional purchased land can be taken as an extension of the mausoleum area.

The KP government, in its report, stated that it had renovated the mausoleum at its original site, but could not include the construction of any additional structures at an additional site at the expense of the state. It said that once the samadhi was occupied by the Hindu community, they could increase residential quarters and other facilities on the additional land as per their agreement with the local peace committee.

The Hindu Parishad, however, questioned how vocal miscreants could be allowed to take decisions or interfere in matters related to the temple. The PHC in its report has demanded that all the promises made by the KP Chief Minister during his meeting with the Supreme Court’s Dr Shoaib Sudley-led Commission for Minority Rights on January 1, 2021, be implemented without any delay.

The council also urged the apex court to ensure that all facilities are provided at the temple for comfortable stay of the pilgrims, including women, children and senior citizens coming from Sindh.

During the hearing, one of the suspects facing the charge of involvement in vandalism, Rahmat Salam Khattak, told the bench that around 100 people were arrested after the incident, adding that he was innocent as he had indulged in vandalism. did not play any role. Temple.

The court adjourned further proceedings for a month.

Published in Dawn, October 14, 2021

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