PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani authorities detained 24 people in overnight raids following a Hindu temple that had been set on fire and demolished by a mob headed by supporters of a radical Islamist party, officials said Thursday.
Meanwhile, dozens of Hindus rallied from the southern port city of Karachi to require the rebuilding of the own place of worship.
The temple’s devastation Wednesday from the northwestern city of Karak also attracted condemnation from human rights activists and leaders of Pakistan’s minority Hindu community.
Local authorities said they arrested 24 people immediately and many more raids were penalized to arrest radical cleric Maulana Shareef along with other people who engaged or provoked the mob to demolish the temple.
The assault occurred after members of the Hindu community obtained consent from local governments to reestablish the temple. According to witnesses and police, the mob was headed by Shareef and fans of Pakistan’s revolutionary Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam celebration,
One of them had been Ramesh Kumar, a part of the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.
Kumar along with a Hindu leader told demonstrators he obtained assurances from the authorities that their temple could be rebuilt and those responsible for the assault could be detained and punished.
He said Khan promised him all measures will be required to guarantee the security of minorities and their places of worship.
Kumar said Pakistan’s Supreme Court had sought a report by police about the assault, which also ruined a shrine situated alongside the temple. “We are extremely unhappy, our hearts have been broken,” he explained.
Kumar said the same temple was ruined in 1997 and neighborhood clerics connected to Wednesday’s assault had incited Muslims previously. He maintained that Shareef, the local cleric who headed the assault, had fled with armed guys in tow and police ordered troops to catch them.
Earlier, Pakistan’s minister for religious affairs, Noorul Haq Qadri, was known as the assault on the temple”a conspiracy against sectarian stability.” He took to Twitter Thursday, saying attacks on places of worship of minority religious groups aren’t permitted in Islam and”defense of religious freedom of minorities is both our spiritual, constitutional, moral and federal obligation.”
The episode comes months after the authorities permitted Hindu residents to construct a new temple at Islamabad about the recommendation of a council of clerics.
Even though Muslims and Hindus normally live peacefully together in Pakistan, there are other attacks on Hindu temples in the past couple of decades.