By Our Staff Reporter
Peshawar: In a move which has brought shame to millions of Pakistanis, hardliner Islamists partially damaged the (samadhi (shrine) of a Hindu saint and set it on fire in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.
The incident took place in Karak’s Teri town. As seen in TV footage, thousands of people stormed the ancient shrine of revered Hindu saint , and partially damaged it in presence of police. Mob comprising Sunni Muslims set the building on fire then. Law enforcement personnel dispersed the mob after the violence.
“Mob comprising slightly above a thousands attacked the shrine in presence of elders of a religious party soon after a protest they staged close to viciity and demanded removal of the Hindu place” of worship. Speeches of leaders urged the mob comprising mostly the young to attack the shrine, which was built before 1920,” a local resident of area told a correspondent of Islamabad Telegraph.
According to him, mob chanted slogans and set the shrine on fire before demolishing it as well as an under-construction house owned by a member of the Hindu community.
According to a correspondent of Islamabad telegraph, residents of nearby villages had announced a protest demonstration a few days earlier which was completely ignored by police,” the resident said, accusing the police of having failed to protect the property.
Videos posted on social media showed a large crowd present at the site, chanting slogans and tearing down the walls of the property. Smoke and fire could be seen in the visuals.
Mr. Irfanullah, the District Police Officer of Kark, confirmed the attack, saying the incident had created a law and order situation in the area.
“Locals had issued a call for protest, but with the guarantee that they would remain peaceful. However, a cleric incited the crowd following which they proceeded to attack the shrine,” Irfanullah said.
According to research done by a correspondent of Islamabad Telegraph, locals misunderstood construction of a house adjacent to the shrine as ‘extension’ of shrine and angrily reacted as they were against the expansion plans.
“There are no Hindus in the area and it was the home of the single samadhi,” the DPO explained.
According to local media reports, it was the second attack on the shrine; it was demolished in 1997 and rebuilt in 2015 on orders of the Supreme Court.
KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan took notice of the incident and directed police to take action against the persons involved.
As per Dawn’s report, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted: “Strongly condemn the burning of a Hindu temple by a mob in Karak, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. KP government must ensure [the] culprits [are] brought to justice.”
She said her ministry was also moving on the incident. “We as a government have a responsibility to ensure safety and security of all our citizens and their places of worship,” she wrote.