October 13th, 2020
By Ahmad Saeed
Police have arrested a suspect for vandalizing a Hindu temple in the suburbs of Badin.
Ismail Sheedi was booked under section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code dealing in ‘deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings’.
According to the copy of the FIR, complainant Ashok Kumar told police that Ismail, who is a resident of Kario Ghanwar town, vandalized a temple in his village, Samo Goth. Kumar said Ismail damaged the idols kept in the temple and fled.
The incident occurred on October 10 and was widely condemned across the country. Police said that the accused has been sent to jail on judicial remand but he is mentally unstable. Police have requested the court to form a medical board to ascertain if the suspect could stand trial.
According to local residents, Sheedi lived near a temple and had a cordial relationship with the Hindu community. The Hindu community said that the incident was an act of an individual and not an organized attack. Hindu community leaders said the issue has been resolved amicably and the situation is as peaceful as it was before the incident.
Meanwhile, the Muslim community condemned the act and also offered the Hindu community to help in renovating the temple. A local social worker, Mehboob Nizamani, said the act of vandalism was unfortunate and the Hindu and Muslim communities condemned the incident. Nizamani regretted that people were misinformed about the incident in the media. The Hindus and Muslims lived in complete harmony in the area, he said. Badin has been a peaceful city for centuries, he added. He claimed that the suspect was a mentally unstable person. Nizamani revealed that the suspect also had abused worshippers during prayers in a local mosque, adding that it was not a case of a hate attack against the Hindu community.
Nizamani said the residents had planned to hold a solidarity rally to show support to the Hindu community but some elements raised objections about the rally to the administration. He said the rally was canceled in order to avoid any untoward situation. People must not think of the incident as of religious extremism, he added.
According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, over 8 million Hindus are living in Pakistan but the majority is settled in Sindh. There are over 600 temples in Sindh but some of them are not functional. In 2019, the government announced the restoration of 400 temples all over Pakistan.