A Hindu temple was attacked with rocket launchers by a gang of dacoits in the Southern Sindh Province of Pakistan on July 16, in the second such incident of vandalism of a place of worship belonging to the minority community in less than two days.
The assailants attacked the small temple built by the local Hindu community and adjoining homes belonging to members of the minority community in the Kashmore area of the Sindh Province.
The attack came after the Mari Mata Temple in Karachi’s Soldier Bazar was razed to the ground by bulldozers in the presence of a heavy contingent of police force late on Friday night.
The temple believed to be nearly 150 years ago was demolished after being declared an old and dangerous structure in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh Province.
The assailants fired indiscriminately at the temple on July 16, prompting a police unit led by Kashmore-Kandhkot SSP Irfan Sammo to reach the scene.
They fired “rocket launchers” at the place of worship, which was closed during the attack, the police official said, adding that the temple opens annually for religious services conducted by the Bagri community.
“The attack happened in the early hours of Sunday. They fired indiscriminately and fled when a police party reached the spot. We are conducting a search operation in the area,” Samoo said.
The police officer estimated that eight or nine gunmen were involved in the attack. Dr. Suresh, a member of the Bagri community, said that the “rocket launchers” fired by the dacoits failed to explode, resulting in no loss of life.
He called on the police to protect the community, saying the incident had left the residents in a state of panic.
SSP Samoo assured the Hindu community members they would be protected. The Kashmore area has a sizeable Hindu population.
The attack comes days after dacoits in the Kashmore and Ghotki riverine areas had threatened to attack Hindu places of worship and community members in retaliation to Seema Haider Jakhrani's PUBG love story.
Seema, a Pakistani mother of four, left her country and entered India to live with a Hindu man she befriended and fell in love with while playing on online gaming platform PUBG in 2019.
Seema, 30, and Sachin Meena, 22, live in the Rabupura area of Greater Noida, near Delhi, where he runs a provision store, according to Uttar Pradesh Police.
While Seema was arrested on July 4 for illegally entering India without a visa via Nepal with her four children, all aged below seven years, Sachin was put behind bars for sheltering the illegal immigrants. They were released from jail recently.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said it was alarmed by reports of “deteriorating law and order in the districts of Kashmore and Ghotki in Sindh, where some 30 members of the Hindu community — including women and children — have allegedly been held hostage by organised criminal gangs”.
“Moreover, we have received disturbing reports that these gangs have threatened to attack the community’s sites of worship, using high-grade weapons,” the Dawn newspaper quoted the commission as saying.
It called on the Sindh Home Department to investigate the matter without delay, the report said.
Karachi is home to many ancient Hindu temples. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
The majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in Sindh Province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents.