Pakistan Charge D’Affaires summoned over vandalisation of Hindu temple

New Delhi, Aug 5: India on Thursday summoned Pakistan Charge D’Affaires Aftab Hasan Khan to lodge a strong protest over the vandalisation of a Hindu temple in Rahimyar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab province and asked Islamabad to ensure the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, replying to questions on the vandalisation of a Ganesh temple in Bhong city in Rahimyar Khan, said: “We’ve seen disturbing reports on social media of a violent mob attack on a Ganesh temple in Rahimyar Khan in Punjab province of Pakistan.

“The mob attacked the temple, desecrated the holy idols and set fire to the premises. In addition to attacking the temple, a mob also attacked surrounding houses belonging to the Hindu community,” he said.

The spokesperson said incidents of violence, discrimination and persecution against minority communities, including attacks on places of worship, have continued unabated in Pakistan. “Within the last year itself, various temples and gurudwaras have been attacked,” he said, citing examples of the vandalisation of two Hindu temples and a gurudwara in Pakistan last year.

“These incidents are occurring at an alarming rate while the state and security institutions in Pakistan have stood by idly and completely failed in preventing these attacks on the minority communities and their places of worship,” he said.

“The Pakistan Charge D’ Affaires in the High Commission here in Delhi was summoned today afternoon and a firm protest was lodged expressing our grave concern at this reprehensible incident, and the continued attacks on the freedom of religion of the minority community at their places of religious worship, and calling upon Pakistan to ensure the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities,” he said.

Videos of a frenzied mob vandalising a Hindu temple and smashing the idols inside in Bhong city were doing the rounds on social media.

The mob, armed with heavy wooden beams and iron rods, smashed the idols and the glass case around the idols, and also the furniture inside.

Dr. Ramesh Vankwani, patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council and a member of the National Assembly, tweeted: “Attack on Hindu temple at Bhong City District Rahimyar Khan Punjab. Situation was tense since yesterday. Negligence by local police is very shameful. Chief Justice is requested to take action.”

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