By National News Desk
Dhaka: Activists staged a protest in the capital of Bangladesh on Friday following attack on a Hindu temple in Pakistan.
Protesters included Sumon Kumar Roy, president of the Bangladesh Hindu Bar Association; Kapil Krishna Mandal, general secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Bangladesh Branch; and Subir Kanti Saha, Hindu Parishad convenor.
These protests come in the context of a temple that was set on fire and vandalised in the Karak district of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. On December 30, a mob of over a hundred people led by local Muslim clerics destroyed and set fire to a Hindu temple in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A viral video clip on social media showed a violent mob destroying the walls and roofs of the temple.
The act against the Hindu minority community has been widely condemned by human rights activists based in Pakistan and other parts of the world.
“Although the Hindus of Pakistan are outraged by this incident, Imran Khan’s administration has not yet taken any action. Hindus in the area could not protest due to fear. Pakistan is now slowly becoming a hell for the people of the Hindu community,” VHP general secretary Kapil Krishna Mandal said.
Dipankar Sikder Dipu, one of the members of Hindu Parishad, hit out at the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government for playing the role of a mere spectator despite knowing the reality of the situation.
“Hindus living in Sindh province were subjected to severe torture by fundamentalists and women were forcibly taken away and raped. After abduction of minors and young women, they were converted and married off forcibly. Imran Khan’s administration is fully aware of these incidents but continues to play the role of a silent spectator,” Dipu said.
Subir Saha said that at least 1,000 minors are raped and converted by force every year. Saha added, “The trend has been exacerbated by the recent epidemic, with the US State Department listing Pakistan as a country of special concern for religious freedom violations earlier this month.”
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom reports that minors from Pakistan’s Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities have been forcibly abducted into Islam and forced into marriage and raped, for which no action has yet been taken.
Sumon Kumar Roy, president of the Bangladesh Hindu Bar Association, said that Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan have to live as second-class citizens and are discriminated against in every step of their lives for housing, employment and government facilities.
“Many members of the Pakistani Hindu community feel that many Hindu families are now being forced to convert to Islam because they cannot tolerate inhumane treatment and torture,” Roy added.
Members of the European Parliament have recently issued a scathing report on the extreme misery and persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, according to Christians, Sikhs, Hindus or Ahmadis. They have shown one example after another from real life, showing how women and children from minority communities are being raped and abducted. They are constantly being threatened with death, Roy pointed out.
The President of Bangladesh Hindu Bar Association called for all donor agencies, including the European Union, to suspend all financial assistance to Pakistan if the persecution and human rights violations against religious minorities are not stopped, and to ensure equal rights in all areas, including the enactment of the Minority Protection Act in Pakistan.
The International Human Rights Organization (IHRO) also called on the Imran Khan administration to conduct a thorough investigation of all these incidents and to ensure that the perpetrators are severely punished under the country’s customary law.
(With Inputs from ANI)