Nearly seven months after Islamists in Pakistan had razed down the Krishna Dwara temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to withdraw cases against 350 people accused of burning down the Hindu temple.
According to PTI reports, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has claimed that the cases were withdrawn after the Hindu community had ‘pardoned’ the mob that had demolished the century-old temple last year.
The Krishna Dwara temple, situated in Karak’s Teri union council, had come under attack by hundreds of residents who set fire to the building and then razed it down with hammers and crude weapons on December 30 last year. Nearly 109 people involved in the attack were arrested while 92 police officials, including the superintendent of police and deputy superintendent of police who were on duty at the time, were suspended.
In March this year, there were reports that the minority Hindu minority community in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in Pakistan had reportedly decided to forgive the hundreds of radical Islamists who had razed down the Krishna temple. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had claimed that the issue was resolved after the members of the Hindu community held a meeting with some Muslim clerics and local leaders, whether they had reached an out-of-court settlement to ‘pardon’ the mob accused of vandalising the temple revered by the Hindus in Pakistan.
In return, the Muslim clerics reportedly promised to protect the constitutional rights of the Hindu community and provide full protection from any such untoward incident in the future. Reportedly, the accused had also tendered an ‘apology’ to the Hindus over the attack on the temple.
Following the reconciliation meeting on March 13, both sides had agreed to send a letter to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, requesting it to release all the accused arrested so far in the case. However, in continuing the same, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has now decided to withdraw cases against more than 350 accused in the case.
Sources at Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said to PTI that after the Hindu community in the ‘jirga’ (traditional assembly of elders) resolved all the issues that created unrest between the local Muslim and Hindu communities and decided to pardon the accused, the interior department took into notice and sent a letter to the Anti-Terrorist Court. Based on the letter, they have withdrawn the cases against the accused, it said.
Hindu groups says they were not taken into consideration
Meanwhile, Hindus in Pakistan are not so happy with the decision to withdraw cases as they said the construction of the temple is being delayed despite assurances by the government. Haroon Sarab Diyal, a religious scholar Hinduism-Minority and Human Rights Activist of the province, said they were not against peace and interfaith harmony, but the government withdrawing cases is against the jirga culture of the soil.
Expressing disappointment over the withdrawal of the cases, Diyal said that the local Hindu community has not been taken into confidence except Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Member of the National Assembly and Chairman of the Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh K Vankwani.
Islamists razed down Hindu temple in Pakistan
In what transpired on December 30, 2020, several Islamists had attacked and burned down the Krishna Dwara temple, situated in Karak’s Teri union council. The fanatics, led by a local cleric and supporters of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), set fire to the building, then razed it down with hammers and crude weapons.
The video, which went viral on social media, showed how the miscreants surrounded and vandalised the temple for hours. Notably, the temple was demolished allegedly in the presence of district administration officials.
The destroyed Hindu temple in Karak, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The more than 100 year old place was demolished in 1997 and again rebuilt in 2015. Now destroyed again. pic.twitter.com/jeKGdx4AyN— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) December 30, 2020
Reportedly, the temple was built after Guru Shri Paramhans Dayal was laid to rest at the site in July 1919. However, the Muslim residents of the area had closed the temple after the Partition in 1947. In 2015, the Krishna Dwara temple was restored on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, only to be razed down again by radical Islamists.
The unfortunate act against the Hindu minority community was widely condemned by human rights activists based in Pakistan and other parts of the world. India had also strongly protested the wanton and malicious destruction of the Hindu temple by several Islamic fanatics. Concerns were conveyed to Pakistan through diplomatic channels.
India had also called out the Pakistan government at the United Nations, saying the country’s enforcement agencies stood as “mute spectators” when a historic Hindu temple was attacked