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Pakistan: Mob attacks temple in Punjab, damages idols

After the failure of the police of Punjab, the Pakistan Rangers have been called to control the situation in Bhong of District Rahim Yar Khan near Lahore

A Muslim mob attacked a Hindu temple in Punjab of Pakistan, burning down parts of it and damaging idols. After the failure of the police, the Pakistan Rangers have been called to control the situation.

Police said the mob attacked the Hindu temple on 4 August in Bhong of Rahim Yar Khan, some 590 km from Lahore, in reaction to the alleged desecration of a Muslim seminary.

An eight-year-old Hindu boy last week had allegedly urinated at a library of the seminary in the area that caused tensions in Bhong, where Muslims and Hindus have been living peacefully for decades.

On 4 August, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf parliamentarian Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani posted videos of the temple attack on his wall, requesting 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 Rahimyar Khan Punjab. (The) situation was tense since yesterday. Negligence by local police is very shameful. Chief Justice is requested to take action.”

Vankwani further said, “Strict action must be taken against those who attacked Hindu temple at Bhong. In contact with higher authorities. Situation is very critical right now.”

“Chief Justice is requested to take action, please. Interfaith harmony is need of time,” he said.

According to Police Officer (DPO) Rahim Yar Khan Asad Sarfraz, the law enforcement agencies have controlled the situation and managed to disperse the mob.

“Rangers have been called and deployed around the Hindu temple,” he said.

The DPO further said that some 100 Hindu families are living in the area and police have been deployed there to thwart any untoward incident.

He said no has been made so far.

“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 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, which Vankwani confirmed.

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.

On 4 August, he said after a social post inciting people of Bhong to take revenge of desecration, the mob started gathering outside the temple and attacked it.

“We will those miscreants who incited people to attack the temple,” DPO Sarfraz said. 

Some members of the mob tried to justify the attack, saying that an eight-year-old Hindu boy had last week urinated near the library of a Muslim seminary in the area. They claimed that the brutal attack by adult males on the temple of the community was in retaliation to the 8-year-old boy’s alleged urination.

The 8-year-old boy was even arrested and booked last week under Pakistan’s brutal blasphemy laws but was subsequently released on bail for being a minor.

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