Islamabad, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- A mob of around 2,000 people on Wednesday destroyed a Hindu temple in northwestern Pakistan, reacting in rage to the religious premises being expanded, in the latest act of violence against a religious minority in the Muslim-dominated country.
The act of vandalism took place around noon in the Karak district of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, following a protest against the temple’s expansion by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, one of the main hardline religious parties in the country.
“Clerics gave provocative speeches and asked the charged crowd to ground the temple,” the head of the local police station, Rehmat Ullah, told EFE.
He said that the mob destroyed a large part of the temple and set it on fire, although nobody was injured as the premises were empty at the time of the incident.
Ullah acknowledged that the police did not try to stop the crowd due to being vastly outnumbered.
“There were around 50 policemen in comparison to 2000 charged protesters. So how could we take action?” the officer said.
Temple administrators had expanded the compound after receiving permission from a local court, but this did not prevent it from being targeted by the Islamists.
The issue of places of worship for minority religions in the Islamic nation has been in focus after in July the construction of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad had to be stopped due to violence by Islamists, who destroyed parts of the structure and issued fatwas (religious decrees) against it.
The new temple was meant to become a symbol of tolerance in Pakistan, but ended up converting into another example of fanaticism and violence against minorities. EFE-EPA