Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed arrived in Teri village of District Karak of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 9 November to participate in the Diwali celebrations at the historic Samadhi of Hindu saint Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj, which had been set on fire by a mob of Muslim fanatics recently. Hindus of the region are still not assured of their safety, the news media reported.
This temple was built about 100 years ago. In December 2020, a mob of Muslims vandalised the temple and set it on fire. Justice Ahmed then ordered the reconstruction of this temple.
In December last year, when a mob vandalised the temple and set it on fire, Chief Justice Ahmed, taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, took a very strong stand and ordered a renovation of the Hindu place of worship.
The repair work of the temple is nearly complete. On 8 November in the evening, hundreds of people from across Pakistan gathered at the Teri temple to celebrate Diwali. The newly constructed temple was decorated with lights and flowers.
On this occasion, Pakistan’s first Hindu woman Advocate General Kalpana Devi from Sindh while talking to BBC said that wherever minorities live, there are some problems. He claimed that the minorities in Pakistan are in a better condition and their voices are heard at the highest level when there is any problem.
Akash Ajit Bhatia, a devotee who came from the Bannu city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said he was very happy to visit the rebuilt temple and was grateful to the Government of Pakistan, which has taken action against those who intended to destroy the peace and harmony between different communities. took immediate action. Akash Ajit Bhatia said, “This is the victory of wisdom over madness”.
Srishti, who came from Sindh, said, “It is only because of the intervention of the Chief Justice that we have been able to gather in this temple today.”
However, the Hindu community of Pakistan is still worried. This is because this temple was not attacked for the first time nor was it rebuilt for the first time. A similar incident happened in 1997 and even then the temple was repaired.
However, after the visit of the Chief Justice, the Hindu community is hopeful that history will not repeat itself again and they will be able to worship in peace.
The incident of demolition of the historic Samadhi of Hindu saint Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj located in TERI took place in December 2020. After this incident came to light, a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice heard the matter in January.
In the hearing, the Supreme Court had ordered the government to start the work of rebuilding this temple within two weeks.
During the hearing, police and administrative officials of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were also present in the court. Police IG Sanaullah Abbasi had told in the Supreme Court that 92 policemen were suspended in this case. SP and DSP were also involved in this.
Also, told that 109 people who carried out that incident were arrested. The police had told the court that a Maulvi Sharif had instigated the mob for violence.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed had said that the order of the government should be followed in any situation. According to him, that incident tarnished the image of Pakistan across the world. He said that arresting the people involved in this case is not enough.
The chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kazim Niaz, had assured the Supreme Court that the provincial government would bear the cost of rebuilding the temple. The chief justice had asked the government to recover money from those who set fire to the shrine. Justice Ahmed had said that he would repeat the order if the money did not come out of his pocket.
The court ordered recovery of 3.3 crore Pakistani rupees from 123 accused in this case. Much of the sum has been recovered from the accused, Pakistani media claims.
Chief Justice Ahmed had ordered the chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board to immediately visit the spot and get the work started on the reconstruction of the temple. The samadhi is the property of the Evacuee Trust Board.
The court had asked for a complete account of all the abandoned waqf properties as well as the closed temples and open temples from the government. The Chief Justice directed to take action against the officials who have illegally occupied the vacant waqf properties. He had then asked to present all these reports before the bench within two weeks.
The chief justice ordered the recovery of the damages and told the Hindu community that if they still wanted to expand their temple, they could do so. Also said that if they need anything, then the provincial government will help them in this work.
Reason for controversy
According to the police, the local people were angry over a Hindu leader building his house adjacent to the samadhi. Muslim fanatics of the area were opposed to the tomb for a long time.
In 1997, the locals had attacked the mausoleum for the first time. However, after the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa rebuilt it.
Despite the government’s support and the court order, the situation in TERI remains tense. Before starting the reconstruction of the mausoleum, the local administration held long talks with the hardliners in TERI.
In 2015, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmed Khan submitted a report in this regard in the Supreme Court. The report said that when Hindus and Muslims agreed on five conditions, he gave permission for the reconstruction of the tomb.
A condition in the agreement was that Hindus would not propagate their religion in TERI. They will only be able to offer their religious prayers there. They will neither be allowed to gather a large number of people at the Samadhi nor will they be allowed any major construction work at the Samadhi site.
Apart from this, the people of the Hindu community will not be able to buy land in that area and their scope will be limited to the samadhi site only.
This temple was built at the place where Hindu saint Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj died. He was cremated here in the year 1919. His followers used to come here every year for worship.
But in the year 1997, this process stopped when this temple was demolished. The followers of Hindu saint Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj then made efforts to rebuild the temple.
The Hindus had alleged that a local cleric had occupied the property of the government-run trust. The property belongs to the Auqaf Department, the job of which is to oversee religious places in the province.
After the intervention of the Supreme Court, this mausoleum could be built again in the year 2016. But in 2020 again, the temple was demolished and now it has been rebuilt again.