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Attackers of Hindu temple charged with blasphemy The Express Tribune

Attackers of Hindu temple charged with blasphemy

Police regist er case agains t rioter s who vandal ised mandir, nearby homes of Hindu commun ity.
By Rabia Ali Published: September 30, 2012

KARACHI: In an ext raordinary t urn of event s, Sect ion 295-A was used t o regist er a blasphemy case against Muslim men for damaging a Hindu t emple during riot s on Ishq-e-Rasool Day . Section 2 9 5-A is the lesser known, non Islam -specific clause of the country s notorious blasphem y law. The Shri Krishna Bhagwan Mandir, located in the Gulshan-e-May m ar area of Karachi, was v andalised by a m ob rally ing against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslim s. They also ransacked nearby houses where m em bers of the Hindu com m unity reside, and looted jewellery and other v aluables. For its part, the Gulshan-e-May m ar police registered a case using 2 9 5-A (deliberate and m alicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) along with other charges of looting, v andalism and theft, against the protesters. Nine people, including one Maulv i Habibur Rehm an and his accom plices, m en from nearby residential areas, hav e been nom inated. SHO Jaffar Baloch said, For m e, ev ery believ er is the sam e. The desecration of a tem ple m eant blasphem y to m e, and thats why we inserted that section. While no one has been arrested so far because the accused are on the run, security has been beefed up in the Hindu locality . Scenes of chaos In the single-room tem ple, destroy ed sculptures of Hindu gods lay scattered. Too dev astated to pick up the sm ashed pieces, its caretaker Maharaj Sunda cried, I dev oted m y life to serv e the gods, and seeing them like this m akes m e wish for death. When the attack took place at 8:3 0 am , the Maharaj was tending to anim als near the tem ple. Frightened scream s from within the tem ple brought him running back. When he entered the tem ple, a scene of chaos greeted him . Six statues of Hindu gods were destroy ed. An infuriated m ob of 1 50 people, carry ing rocks and sticks, had barged in chanting Allah hu Akbar, and took away gold adornm ents from the four-foot statues before sm ashing them to the ground. Worth m ore than Rs1 Lakh each, the sculptures were brought from India when the tem ple was m ade in 2 000. It was terrible. Ev ery one was running to sav e their liv es. Som e like m e got attacked by stones when we tried to stop them , said one m an nam ed Gov inda, pushing his hair back to show a wound on his forehead. The rioters then m ov ed onto their holy books. Showing torn pages of Geeta, the Maharajs ey es welled up with tears. They ripped pages from the old Geeta, and took away the new one. A broken piece of Radhas face lay on the floor. A picture of well-known philanthropist Ruth Pfau, who supported an NGO that built the tem ple, was also torn. The protesters, who left no stone unturned, then entered nearby houses, snatching gold earrings from newly m arried Lakshm i and m angal sutars from others. Another Pathani display ed a scar on her ear where m en had ripped out her only gold possession, a single earring. Hurling stones at houses, they also injured a wom an who was washing clothes. The locals had no idea what the protestors were rally ing about before they entered the area. All they knew that they were angry with the Am ericans. We are not Am ericans. We hav e no link with them . Why were we attacked? said a resident. This was not the first such incident in the area. The m ob finally ran away when Sikh m en in the locality reached the spot with their traditional daggers, kirpans. Since the incident, no pray ers hav e been held at the tem ple. Men hav e stopped going to work. Children are afraid to play outside.
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Attackers of Hindu temple charged with blasphemy The Express Tribune

We are Pakistanis. We hav e nev er been to India. Let us liv e here, said the Maharaj. Long way t o go Welcom ing the m ov e by the local police, Hum an Rights Com m ission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairperson Zohra Yusuf added, howev er, that she had nev er heard of a blasphem y case registered against Muslim s for dam aging a house of worship.When Ahm adi houses of worship are attacked, blasphem y sections are not inserted. Also, m inorities are fearful to lodge com plaints. Her concern is lent credence by the fact that four churches in the city hav e been attacked in 2 01 2 , but no FIR against their desecration has been registered. HRCP council m em ber Asad Iqbal Butt, who v isited the tem ple, called it the responsibility of the gov ernm ent to rebuild the tem ple. We also dem and a boundary wall for the Hindus. Butt said he called up v arious Hindu panchay ats for help, but no one responded. Had it been a rich Hindu com m unity , the panchay ats would hav e reacted otherwise, he said. Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th , 2012.
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