A Pakistani Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has sentenced atleast 22 accused to five years of imprisonment each for allegedly attacking a Hindu temple in Punjab province in 2021.
In July 2021, miscreants allegedly attacked the Ganesh temple at Bhong city of Rahim Yar Khan district in Punjab province with sticks, bamboos and weapons. The angry mob allegedly assaulted the security guard, damaged idols, walls, doors and electric fittings and set part of the temple ablaze, desecrating the holy Hindu temple.
The mob attack was triggered in response to desecration of a Muslim seminary by an eight-year-old Hindu boy. At least 84 suspected persons, who attacked the Hindu temple were taken into custody during September 2021, and a case was registered in the ATC in Bahawalpur of Punjab province.
As per details, Bahawalpur ATC judge, Nazir Hussain, announced the judgment in the case. "The judge handed down imprisonment of five years each to at least 22 suspects while acquitting the remaining 62 people on benefit of doubt," confirmed a court official.
"The court handed out the punishment to 22 accused persons after the prosecution presented the relevant evidence in the form of footages and witnesses who testified against them," the official added. The matter was also taken up by the Pakistan government, which had already announced a compensation of Rs one million from the alleged suspects. This was done as per orders of the same court.
The government had also announced immediate restoration of the Ganesh temple, which was complied to, and the temple was restored at the expense of the government. The former Pakistan Chief Justice, Gulzar Ahmed had taken notice of the incident and regretted that vandalism of Ganesh temple had brought shame to the country.
He also expressed disappointment over the local police, who he said, did nothing to stop the violent mob from attacking the Hindu temple. "Imagine what mental agony the desecration incident had brought to the members of the Hindu community," Ahmed said. The incident was also condemned as a resolution was unanimously adopted against it.