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Pakistan court awards 5-year jail to 22 suspects in Hindu temple attack case

BAHAWALPUR – An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in South Punjab sentenced 22 people to five years in jail each for vandalising a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan last year.

The court launched the trial of 84 suspects in September 2021 and it has now released 62 suspects over lack of evidence while the remaining 22 have been shifted to jail to serve their sentence.

Last year in August, over a dozen men armed with sticks vandalised the temple, shouting slogans and desecrating idols in the place of worship. The video of the incident went viral on social media, drawing sharp criticism from the then Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and rights activists.

The mob had destroyed the interior as well as the idols (moortis) placed inside the temple. Following the attack, the local Hindu community had also fled the area out of fear for their safety.

Taking action, police arrested suspects after identifying them from footage of the incident.

The Pakistani government had the temple renovated within a week after it was attacked by the mob.

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