20 held, 150 booked for attack on temple in Pakistan

20 arrested, over 150 booked for attack on Hindu temple in Pakistan

An FIR has been registered under terrorism and other sections of the Pakistan Penal Code against over 150 for their involvement in attacking the temple

people gather outside the Hindu temple that was set on fire by an angry mob in Pakistan. Credit: Reuters Photo

Pakistan's law enforcement agencies on Saturday arrested over 50 people, including the main suspects, allegedly involved in an attack on a Hindu temple in a remote town of the country's Punjab province, a day after the Supreme Court admonished the authorities for their failure to protect the shrine.

They also booked 150 people in connection with the attack on Wednesday.

A mob attacked the temple at Bhong city of Rahim Yar Khan district of the province, some 590 kms from Lahore, in protest against the release of an eight-year-old Hindu boy, who was arrested for allegedly urinating in a local seminary.

"More than 50 suspects have been arrested so far through analysis of video footages in a shameful ransacking incident at a temple in Rahim Yar Khan," Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar tweeted.

"We will make sure that no such incident happens (in the future). Besides, the restoration work of the temple has been underway in full speed," he said.

Read | Pakistan Supreme Court pulls up authorities for failing to stop attack on Hindu temple

He also shared the photographs of some of the arrested people on his social media account.

District Police Officer (DPO) of Rahim Yar Khan Asad Sarfraz told PTI that all "main suspects" in the temple attack case have been arrested.

An FIR has been registered under terrorism and other sections of the Pakistan Penal Code against over 150 people for their involvement in attacking the temple, he said.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday pulled up authorities for failing to stop the attack and ordered the arrest of the culprits, observing that the incident has tarnished the image of the country abroad.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed said that vandalism at the temple had brought shame to the country as police acted like silent spectators.

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The Chief Justice wondered at the arrest of the eight-year-old boy and asked whether police were incapable of understanding the mental capacity of the minors.

Pakistan's parliament on Friday condemned the temple attack by adopting a resolution.

The hearing in the case has been adjourned till August 13.

India on Thursday summoned the Pakistani charge d'affaires in New Delhi and lodged a firm protest, expressing grave concerns at this reprehensible incident and the continued attacks on the freedom of religion of the minority communities and their places of religious worship in Pakistan. 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.