December 30, 2020 was a sad day for the patriotic Pakistani Hindu community because a violent mob succeeded in attacking the Teri Temple and Samaadhi (Tomb) located at district Karak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This unjustified act is a violation of the constitution of Pakistan, Supreme Court orders, Quaid-e-Azam ’s vision and, most importantly, religious teachings.
Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj was a God-fearing and kind natured saint. His purpose was to provide spiritual relief to vulnerable and poor people. Due to this fact, his ‘Aashram’ was always full of people seeking eternal peace and spiritual satisfaction. Even after his demise, a large number of his followers, regardless of religious affiliation, used to visit the Samadhi to pay tribute to his selfless and humanitarian services. However, after Partition, the local Hindu population had to migrate from there.
Unfortunately, the tragic incident of Babri Masjid in India resulted in empowering local extremist elements in Pakistan. In so-called revenge, a large number of historical places of worship belonging to the non-Muslim community were damaged during the 1990s. One of those was the Terri Temple which is the fourth most important holy site in the eyes of the Pakistani Hindu community.
The detailed decision of June 19, 2014 by the Supreme Court for the protection of minorities reflects one of my most significant struggles in the legal field. The judgment attempts to address and ensure the rights of non-Muslim citizens. Former CJ Honorable Tassaduq Hussain Jillani had also ordered the restoration of the Samadhi of Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj. The decision was widely welcomed by the non-Muslim community.
During my visits to the area, I received a very warm welcome by the local community. Many senior citizens were recalling the times when the said Samadhi was a symbol of interfaith harmony and religious freedom. The locals were hopeful that pilgrimage to the holy site would result in uplifting the socio-economic conditions of the area. They were eagerly looking to welcome Hindu pilgrimages. I also noticed that there were a very few elements who were not happy but they had no option but to accept the Supreme Court orders.
However, a few days back on December 27, reliable sources informed me that some extremist elements were making plans to demolish the Samadhi on December 30. My immediate reaction was to bring this to the knowledge of the deputy commissioner of Karak. The DC informed that he had already received an intelligence report on this, and assured that nobody would be allowed to damage the Samadhi, which is under construction on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Due to criminal negligence, a violent mob, on the direction of the same person who had occupied the holy site in 1997, succeeded in attacking the Samadhi on December 30. Reportedly, the local police were standing as silent spectators there. The unfortunate incident has also brought a bad name to Pakistan and the Pakistani nation as a whole. Currently, the Hindu community in Pakistan and followers of Shri Maharaj around the globe are also in a state of shock and grief. It is a just demand to arrest the culprits and book them under the law.
During our discussion, Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed showed grave concern over the tragic incident and informed that he has already taken cognizance of the issue with the directions to the One Man Commission on Minorities Rights, chief secretary KP and IGP KP to visit the site and submit the report. Similarly, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also condemned the tragic incident and assured full cooperation in this regard.
I am also thankful to all of those peace-loving citizens who, on the call of the Pakistan Hindu Council, gathered outside the Supreme Court Branch Registry in Karachi to show solidarity with the vulnerable Hindu community. Respect to all holy places of worship must be ensured at any cost.Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, "Criminal attack," The News. 2021-01-01.
Keywords: Social sciences , Pakistani Hindu community , Hindu community , socio-economic conditions , Religious teachings , Religious affiliations , Religious freedom , Criminal negligence , Hindu pilgrimages