India seeks action for attack on Pak. temple

January 02, 2021 12:00 am | Updated 06:15 am IST - NEW DELHI

Ministry said it expects details of probe into incident to be shared; over 30 held for demolition

Tense situation:A policeman stands guard near the demolished temple in Karak, Pakistan on Thursday.AFP

Tense situation:A policeman stands guard near the demolished temple in Karak, Pakistan on Thursday.AFP

India has expressed “serious concerns” over the demolition of the Karak Hindu Temple by a mob in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, and called upon the Imran Khan government to take “strict action” against those responsible, sources here said.

In a written demarche to the Pakistan High Commission on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it expected the Pakistan government to share details of its investigation into the attack on the temple that was set on fire and demolished by a mob, allegedly instigated by a local cleric and activists of the Jamaat ulema e Islam (JuI-F), a radical party. “Our message reiterated that the Government of Pakistan is expected to look after the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities,” a source said, pointing to the fact that this is the second time since 1997 that the Karak temple had been demolished.

Since the attack on the temple on Wednesday, Pakistan’s federal and provincial government, both led by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party (PTI), have ordered the arrests of more than 30 people, alleged to be part of the mob of about 1,500 responsible for the attack.

According to Pakistan’s Dawn News , those arrested, including the cleric and a JUI-F leader, have been booked under charges of “defiling a place of worship, hurting religious sentiments, robbery, hurt, arson, mischief and assault” as well as Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

The provincial Chief Minister said at a public event that he had issued orders for the reconstruction of the temple, news agencyPTIreported.

Meanwhile, after an appeal by Pakistani lawmaker and chief of Pakistan’s Hindu Council Ramesh Vankwani, Pakistan’s Supreme Court said it was a matter of “grave concern”, and ordered authorities to submit a report by January 4 and for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officials to appear before the court the next day.

Mr. Vankwani said that while expressing concerns about human rights issues and minority rights in Pakistan, India, too, should be open to similar concerns raised by Pakistan. He specifically mentioned an attack on a mosque in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday.

Despite ongoing tensions over the temple attack and increasing ceasefire violations at the Line of Control, India and Pakistan continued traditional exchanges of information on New Year’s Day according to previously signed agreements.

Both countries exchanged lists of nuclear installation and facilities and others.

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