Evangelical Christian Family Sentenced for Desecrating Fijian Hindu temple
Posted January 17, 2005
(Saturday, January 15, 2005)
The father of two 16-year-old boys who appeared in court yesterday for sacrilege in a Hindu temple was fined $130 by the Suva court yesterday for failing to be a good dad.
This is the first time in Fiji legal history that such a sentence has been handed down.
Juvenile Court magistrate Ajmal Khan said the twin boys' father was directly responsible for their actions because he did not bring them up to respect other people's religions and belongings. The twins were charged with burglary, housebreaking and sacrilege after being arrested for burning holy books inside a Hindu temple at Delaivalelevu, Nasinu, late last year.
Mr Khan initially adjourned sentencing the twins so their father could attend court. When their father did not attend the initial sentencing date, Mr Khan issued a bench warrant.
He ordered their father to pay $50 to the owners of the temple to replace the burnt holy books and $40 to the court and sentenced the twins to six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months. Last night Mr Khan said he exercised his powers under a provision seldom used in the juvenile act.
"As far as I'm concerned this is probably the first case where a parent has been fined for his or her child's wrongdoing."
"Under the act, the magistrate has three options; to fine the parents, take them in as surety, or have them bound over in the child's place."
"I decided on the fine as the father had stated that he had a gravel-making business and was able to support himself," Mr Khan said. "He seems to have thought that taking care of his children was the state's responsibility. If you want to have children, then you should take care of them. Especially for someone who has all the means to support himself," Mr Khan said. The court heard the twins' father, who had been separated from his wife, chased the two out of his house when he found out they had been charged with sacrilege.
During the South Pacific Leadership Conference on Evangelism this week Methodist Church general secretary, Reverend Jione Lagi said the rising crime rate showed we are living in a sick society.
"Everywhere violence is in one form or another," Mr Lagi said warning people about the type of society we would be subjected to if we allowed the culture of violence to continue. He said the "culture" also reflected the rising social problems experienced as a result of family breakdowns.
Mr Lagi said that if parents could not forgive and work together then children would follow in their footsteps and succumb to a violent lifestyle.