PAK court sentences 22 people for vandalising Hindu temple; accused get 5-year jail-time [details] | Tipspdia

For attacking a Hindu temple in Punjab province last year, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court (ATC) sentenced 22 convicts to five years in prison on Wednesday. Hundreds of people attacked the Ganesh Mandir temple in Bhong city, district Rahim Yar Khan, 590 kilometres from Lahore, in July 2021, in retaliation for an eight-year-old Hindu boy’s alleged vandalism of a Muslim seminary.

According to a report by news agency PTI, the enraged mob beat police officers stationed at the temple and vandalised and burned down a section of the shrine. During their desecration of the temple, the attackers also destroyed the idols, walls, doors, and electrical connections. Last September, the trial of 84 accused suspects began and ended last week.

Pakistan temple vandalised

Pakistan temple vandalisedAP

“On Wednesday, ATC Judge (Bahawalpur) Nasir Hussain announced the verdict. The judge handed down imprisonment of a five-year each to 22 suspects while acquitting the remaining 62 people, giving them a benefit of the doubt,” a court official said.

Before the judge pronounced the decision, all of the accused were brought to the court under heavy security from the New Central Jail in Bahawalpur. According to the official, the court sentenced 22 defendants after the prosecution provided relevant evidence in the form of video footage and witnesses testified against them.

Jail in Pakistan

Jail in Pakistan (Representative Image)

The government had previously recovered more than PKR 1 million ($5,300) in compensation from the suspects on the judgement of the top court. The Supreme Court later ordered the temple to be reconstructed. Gulzar Ahmed, then-Chief Justice of Pakistan, expressed sadness that vandalism at the Ganesh Mandir had caused shame to the country since police stood by and did nothing. Pakistan’s parliament also passed a resolution condemning the temple bombing.

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