India summons Pak's acting envoy over temple ransacking

Pakistan's acting envoy to India summoned to MEA, protest lodged over ransacking of temple

India conveyed its concern over unabated incidents of violence, discrimination and persecution against the minority communities

A policeman stands guard at the burnt Hindu temple a day after a mob attack in a remote village in Karak district, some 160 kms southeast of Peshawar on December 31, 2020. Credit: AFP Photo

India on Thursday firmly protested against ransacking of a temple in Pakistan, slamming Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for persecution of religious minorities in the neighbouring country.

Islamabad’s acting envoy to New Delhi, Aftab Hasan Khan, was on Thursday summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), where senior officials conveyed to him India’s grave concern over the recent incident of violent mob attack on a Ganesha Temple at Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province of Pakistan.

The mob not only attacked the temple, desecrated the holy idols and set the premises on fire, but also attacked surrounding houses of the Hindus.

India conveyed its concern over unabated incidents of violence, discrimination and persecution against the minority communities including attacks on places of worship in Pakistan. “Within the last year itself, various temples and Gurudwaras have been attacked including the Mata Rani Bhatiyani Mandir in Sindh in January 2020, Gurudwara Sri Janam Sthan in January 2020, a Hindu temple in Karak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in December 2020,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists in New Delhi.

"These incidents are occurring at an alarming rate, while the state and security institutions in Pakistan have stood by idly and completely failed in preventing these attacks on the minority communities and their places of worship,” he said.

Senior MEA officials conveyed to the Islamabad’s acting envoy to New Delhi the “grave concerns” of India over the latest “reprehensible incident” as well as “the continued attacks on the freedom of religion of the minority community and their places of religious worship” in Pakistan. New Delhi called upon the Khan Government in Islamabad to ensure the safety, security and well-being of the minority communities of Pakistan.