Pakistan: Hindu temple desecrated, idols destroyed in Karachi
The statues of deities at a Hindu temple in this Pakistani city have been destroyed, the police said on Tuesday, the latest incident of vandalism against the places of worship of the minority community in this country.
The incident took place at the Narayan Mandir in Karachi’s old city of Narainpura on Monday evening, they said. A man, identified as Muhammad Waleed Shabbir, has been arrested for damaging the statues of the deities, a senior police officer official, Sarfaraz Nawaz, said.
“He was arrested on the complaint of a Hindu man, Mukesh Kumar, who with his wife was at the Narayan Mandir for prayers when they saw this man damaging the statues of Hindu deities with a hammer,” he said.
An eyewitness said that angry Hindus, who were at the temple, caught hold of the miscreant and handed him over to the police. Later, the Hindu residents of the area staged a protest outside the police station, demanding the government to provide security to Hindus.
They also raised slogans and protested that they were feeling insecure in the area after the incident. The area is mostly inhabited by poor and low-income Hindu families who have been living in Narainpura for decades.
The police and Pakistani Rangers reached the spot and cordoned off the area. Sindh’s Minister for Minority Affairs Gyanchand Israni said that a case should be registered. He said that such incidents create unrest in the society.
“We condemn such attacks,” he said. Another Hindu resident said that there were lots of Hindu families in the area and they had never seen such an incident and there had never been any incident of Hindu-Muslim tension in the area.
"We are labourers and very poor people. We do not harm anyone and always pray people will respect our worship places too," he said. The police official said that they were investigating the motive behind the incident. The videos of broken holy statues were seen circulating on social media. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Member of National Assembly Kheeal Das Kohistani condemned incident, saying that one out of two attackers has been held by the police. “No religion allows such kinds of acts,” he said.
There have been incidents of Hindu temples being vandalised in other parts of the country as well. In October, a historical Hindu temple located at the bank of Indus River in Kotri city was desecrated by unidentified people.
In August, the Ganesh temple in Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan district was vandalised by a mob of over 200 people. In March, a group of unidentified people attacked an over 100-year-old Hindu temple in Rawalpindi.
In December last year, century-old Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj temple in Teri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district was vandalised and demolished by a mob led by some local clerics.
Last month, it was opened to devotees by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed who had ordered authorities to reconstruct it. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country. The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents. They often complain of harassment by extremists.