A Ganesha temple representing Siddhi Vinayak form of the Hindu God was assailed by rowdies in Pakistan. The Government of India has reacted severely to the incident.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi of India said such incidents of violence and persecution against the minorities continue unabated in Pakistan.
According to Pakistan police, a mob attacked the Hindu temple of Lord Ganesha at Bhong city in Rahim Yar Khan district, which is some 590 km from Lahore, on Wednesday. The Pakistan police claimed that the Hindu temple was desecrated after a Hindu mob violated the sanctity of a Muslim seminary but Vibes of India could not confirm this.
The Pakistan police maintained, “An eight-year-old Hindu boy last week had allegedly urinated at a library of the Muslim seminary in the area that caused tensions in Bhong, where Muslims and Hindus otherwise have been living peacefully for decades”.
From the Indian side Bagchi said, “In addition to attacking the temple, surrounding houses belonging to the Hindu community were also attacked. Incidents of violence, discrimination and persecution against minority communities, including attacks on places of worship have continued unabated in Pakistan”.
Bagchi added that institutions in Pakistan have “stood idle and completely failed in protecting these institutions and places of worship”.
He said India also summoned Pakistan’s Charge d’Affaires on Thursday afternoon and lodged a “firm protest expressing grave concern at this reprehensible incident and the continued attacks on the freedom of religion of the minority community and protection of their places of worship”.
As the mob attacked the temple, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf parliamentarian, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani posted videos of the temple attack on Twitter and requested law enforcement agencies to rush to the spot to stop its “burning and vandalising”.
In a series of tweets, he said, “Attack on Hindu temple at Bhong City District Rahimyar Khan Punjab. The situation was tense since yesterday. Negligence by local police is very shameful. Chief Justice is requested to take action.”
VHP International Working President Alok Kumar said, “Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state. I am confident that the government of India would also do its duty to convince the world that Pakistan needs to be declared as a terrorist state and its foreign aid must be curtailed.”
Meanwhile, according to District Police Officer (DPO) Rahim Yar Khan Asad Sarfraz, the law enforcement agencies have controlled the situation and managed to disperse the mob.
“Our first priority is to restore law and order and provide protection to the minority community,” Sarfraz said.
Another police official said the temple has been “damaged badly”.
The police officer said the minor Hindu boy who allegedly desecrated the library of the seminar in Bhong Sharif was arrested last week and booked under the blasphemy laws but subsequently released on bail for being a minor.
“The attackers were carrying sticks, stones and bricks. They smashed the deities while raising religious slogans,” he said, adding a part of the temple was burnt down. “We will arrest those miscreants who incited people to attack the temple,” DPO Sarfraz said.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken note of the attack on the Hindu temple in Bhong village. In a statement, the court said Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has expressed “grave concern over the tragic incident”.