Islamabad, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday ordered the reconstruction of a temple of the marginalized Hindu minority that had been destroyed by an Islamist mob last week, after which more than a hundred people have been arrested and 92 police officers suspended over the incident.
“The Chief Justice (Gulzar Ahmed) took notice of the incident and today a three-member bench ordered the reconstruction the temple,” Supreme Court spokesperson Faraz Hussain told EFE.
He added that the court ordered that the culprits be made to pay the costs of reconstructing the religious structure, although at first the provincial government of Kyber Pakhtunkhwa – where the incident took place – will bear the expenses. The accused would be made to reimburse the funds later on.
The act of vandalism took place on Dec. 30 in the Karak district of the province, following a protest against the temple’s expansion by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), one of the main hardline religious parties in the country.
A mob of around 2,000 people destroyed a large part of the temple and set it on fire, although nobody was injured as the premises were empty at the time of the incident.
The incident happened in the presence of police, which has led to the suspension of nearly a hundred officers over negligence.
“A total of 92 policemen have been suspended over negligence and failing to protect the temple,” local police spokesperson Farid Ullah told EFE.
Moreover, 107 people including JUI-F chief Mohammad Shrif – accused of instigating the mob – have been arrested in relation to the destruction.
The issue of places of worship for minority religions in the Islamic nation has been in focus after in July the construction of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad had to be stopped due to violence by Islamists, who destroyed parts of the structure and issued fatwas (religious decrees) against it.
The new temple was meant to become a symbol of tolerance in Pakistan, but ended up converting into another example of fanaticism and violence against minorities. EFE-EPA