10 May 2021
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A 100-year-old Hindu temple was attacked by a group of men in Rawalpindi’s Purana Qila Sunday night.

According to the police, renovations had been underway for over a month. On March 24, multiple encroachments in front of its main gate were removed.

An FIR of the attack has been registered by the assistant security officer of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, Syed Raza Abbas Zaidi. “Between 7pm and 8pm on Monday, a group of men broke into the temple and damaged its main gate and staircase,” the complaint stated.

“Prayers had not begun in the temple and neither were any statues kept inside,” it stated, adding that the men tried to set the temple on fire.

#Rawalpindi: Attacked Temple. VIDEO#1 pic.twitter.com/ITxLNuZTZ5— Prem Rathi ︎ (@PremRathee) March 29, 2021

A case has been registered against 15 unidentified men under sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The complainant has requested the police for security outside the temple.

So far, no arrests have been made. The police are, on the other hand, conducting raids.

Desecration of Hindu temples and scriptures in the past

Hindu places of worship have been desecrated in Pakistan in the past too.

On December 30, 2020, a historic Hindu temple was set ablaze in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak. The attackers surrounded and vandalised the temple for hours and no police came to the rescue. The Supreme Court ordered an inquiry.

In October, a group of men vandalised idols at a temple in Sindh’s Nagarparkar. A suspect later arrested told police he had done it for money.

A pre-Partition Hindu temple was demolished in Karachi’s Lyari on August 16. “The Hanuman temple dated back almost 200 years and was a place of worship for families living in the neighbourhood,” Pakistan Hindu Council Patron-in-Chief and MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said at the time.

In February 2019, an arson attack on a Hindu temple spread unrest in Kumb in Sindh’s Khairpur. Unidentified men had entered Sham Sundar Shewa Mandli temple and set fire to three sacred books and idols.

Abdul Gh Lone