India lodges protest with Pakistan over vandalisation of temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the vandalisation of a Hindu temple in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the neighbouring country and sought strict action against those responsible for the incident, sources said on Friday.

India expects Pakistan to carry out an investigation into the incident and has asked for sharing of the probe report with it, they said.

On Wednesday, the temple in Terri village of Karak district was vandalised by a mob, protesting against its expansion work.

The sources said the Ministry of External Affairs conveyed its serious concerns to the Pakistan High Commission here over the repeated instances of similar incidents and atrocities against the members of the minority community.

“It was also impressed upon the government of Pakistan that this was not the first time the temple was destroyed. This has been going on since 1997. We also asked for the investigation report to be shared with the ministry,” a source said.

The sources said it was conveyed that the government of Pakistan, in discharging its responsibilities, is expected to look after the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities, including protecting their religious rights and cultural heritage.

Over 30 people, mostly members of a radical Islamist party, were arrested over the attack, Pakistani officials said on Thursday. The attack on the temple drew strong condemnation from human rights activists and Hindu community leaders.

Provincial govt promises to reconstruct the temple

On Thursday, the provincial government ordered authorities to reconstruct the damaged temple as it vowed to bring the culprits to justice.

According to the local police, they arrested more than 30 people, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Rehmat Salam Khattak, in overnight raids. Over 350 people have been named in the FIR, Provincial Police Chief KPK Sanaullah Abbasi has said adding that all the sections of law relating to terrorism have been included in the FIR against the accused.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court took note of the attack on Thursday and ordered the local authorities to appear before the court on January 5.

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