Top judge takes notice of attack on Hindu temple

PM Imran condemns attack, direct action against culprits

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has taken notice of the attack on a Hindu temple by a mob in a village of Rahim Yar Khan district, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MP Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said Thursday.

A charged mob stormed the temple in the remote town on Wednesday, damaging statues and burning down the temple’s main door.

The attack followed an alleged desecration of a seminary by a Hindu boy earlier this week, the police said.

The top judge took cognisance of the incident after Vankwani, who is also the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, called on him at the Supreme Court in Islamabad to discuss the attack.

The judge “showed grave concern over the tragic incident”, according to a press statement issued by the court.

Justice Ahmed fixed the matter before the court on August 6 (tomorrow) at Islamabad and directed Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik and police chief Inam Ghani to appear in person along with a report.

Vankwani has also been summoned, the statement added.

In a related development, the Punjab government deployed paramilitary forces in the town to check communal unrest.

Ahmad Nawaz, a spokesperson for the Rahim Yar Khan police, told Reuters police were searching for the attackers and trying to ascertain if the suspect in custody suspected of desecrating the seminary was from the local Hindu community.

The temple was attacked after someone posted details of the incident on social media on Wednesday, Vankwani said on Twitter.

Police had the post deleted, he said, but a crowd gathered near the temple.

“Finally seeing the mob, even the police left, and I asked for (paramilitary) Rangers or the army to deploy, but by then the temple was destroyed and set on fire.”

Vankwani later said that the situation has been brought under control. He said the initially slow response from the police had made the situation and the damages to the temple worse.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the attack and directed action against culprits.

“Strongly condemn attack on Ganesh Mandir in Bhung, RYK yesterday. I have already asked IG Punjab to ensure arrest of all culprits & take action against any police negligence. The govt will also restore the Mandir,” he tweeted.

Reuters contributed to this report

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