India has lodged a strong protest over demolishing of a Hindu temple in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sources said on Friday. The protest has been lodged via diplomatic channels, they said. India conveyed serious concerns to Pakistan High Commission at repeated instances of similar nature, of atrocities against the members of the minority community. Centre has demanded that the Pakistan government should investigate the matter and take strict action against those responsible for vandalisation and demolition of the temple.
This comes two days after an attack on a Hindu temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak district on Wednesday which drew strong condemnation from human rights activists and Hindu community leaders.
According to Pakistani officials, over 30 people, mostly members of a radical Islamist party, have been arrested after the temple was vandalised and set on fire by a mob protesting against its expansion work. On Thursday, the provincial government ordered authorities to reconstruct the damaged temple as it vowed to bring the culprits to justice.
The temple was attacked by the mob after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decades-old building, according to witnesses. The mob, led by a local cleric and supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure, news agency PTI quoting witnesses said.
According to local police, they arrested more than 30 people, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Rehmat Salam Khattak, in overnight raids. Over 350 people have been named in the FIR, Provincial Police Chief KPK Sanaullah Abbasi has said.
Abbasi said all the sections of law relating to terrorism have been included in the FIR against the accused. The police will ensure protection to worship places of minorities in the province, he added. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday took notice of the attack and ordered the local authorities to appear before the court on January 5.
Leader of Hindu Community Peshawar Haroon Sarab Diyal said that a samadhi of a Hindu religious leader exists at the temple site and Hindu families from across the country do visit the samadhi on every Thursday. The Samadhi of Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj is considered sacred by the Hindu community. It was built where he died in 1919 in Teri village of Karak.
The incident in the town of Karak drew condemnation from Pakistan's minister for human rights, Shireen Mazari. Mazari on Wednesday took to Twitter to condemn the burning of the temple and urged law enforcement officials to ensure the arrest of those involved.
Strongly condemn the burning of a Hindu temple by a mob in Karak Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. KP govt must ensure culprits brought to justice. MOHR also moving on this. We as a govt have a responsibility to ensure safety & security of all our citizens & their places of worship.— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) December 30, 2020
The act against the Hindu minority community is widely condemned by human rights activists based in Pakistan and other parts of the world.
A hindu temple was demolished by religious extremists in karak today. It is very shameful moment for us because it reflects the way of how we treat minorities in our country.— Ihtesham Afghan (@IhteshamAfghan) December 30, 2020
You can't run a federation unless and until the rights of minorities are protected. Strongly condemnable. pic.twitter.com/PJOKZA3a1l
2020 in Pakistan: Hindu temple in Karak, KP brutally vandalized and demolished by a violent mob. While the Pakistan government is fixated on the rise of hindutva in India, the fascists at home continue attacking non Muslim Pakistanis with impunity. https://t.co/xlikXXlKny— Rabia Mehmood - رابعہ (@Rabail26) December 30, 2020
This is new Pakistan!— Shama Junejo (@ShamaJunejo) December 30, 2020
A Hindu Temple was destroyed today in Karak, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, governed by PTI Govt.
Police or forces didn’t stop the mob because they were chanting Allah-o-Akbar.
A shameful day, Beyond condemnation indeed!
#BREAKING...A mob led by local clerics destroyed Hindu temple in Karak district of KP. Hindus obtained permission from the administration to extend the temple but local clerics arranged a mob to destroy the temple. Police & administration remained silent spectators @ImranKhanPTI pic.twitter.com/fL6J13YSGN— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) December 30, 2020
(With PTI inputs)