Peshawar police say: Ransacking of temple an inside job
PESHAWAR, May 30: Police investigators have rubbished the reports of the people from the outside attacking a Hindu temple in Gor Khuttri area of Peshawar on May 20 and blamed the ransacking of the place of worship on strife between two groups of local Hindu community.
Elder of Hindu community Ramesh claims that seven to eight unidentified people ransacked the temple and set fire to the holy books and when he showed up, he saw some fleeing with a deity through window.
A source close to investigators told Dawn on Wednesday that police would make public the truth behind the temple ransacking ‘very soon’ by identifying the main accused.
He said the incident led to unrest among Hindus living inside the country and overseas due to extensive media coverage, especially by television channels.
“Several Hindu elders have approached us to know the real story. Investigators have found out that no one from the outside had ransacked the temple. Some from within Hindu community are behind it,” he said.
When contacted, senior investigation officer Ilyas Khan said he had almost completed the process of collecting evidence and taking statements from the relevant people.
“Hindu elders have admitted in their statements that no one from outside broke into the temple. However, they are avoiding disclosing the name of those involved in the ransacking,” he said.
The officer said Hindus were trying hard to hush up the matter but police would take action against the culpable people to prevent such unfortunate happenings in future.
Meanwhile, the provincial archeology and museum department has said in a statement that “the director archaeology and museums along with district coordination officer Peshawar visited the site on the same day (May 20) and also investigated watchmen on duty who informed that they had seen no armed or unarmed persons intruding on the building and damaging it.”
The Peshawar High Court has allowed the Hindu community to use the temple only for worship but Kaka Ram and his sister, Poolen Watti, has been demanding the building’s ownership from the archaeology department.
However, according to the statement, the department as an immediate step is going to fix an iron grill around the temple and the numbers of night watchmen being increased to ensure full security and protection to the building.
It also said the directorate of archaeology and museums was the custodian of the ancient buildings of Hindus, Buddhist, Sikhs and Christians, and spent sufficient funds for their preservation.
The statement said the provincial government was taking keen interest in protection of sacred structures of religious minorities and in mobilising all its resources to preserve and protect it at all costs.