India protests desecration of temple in Pakistan’s Punjab province

Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack on a Hindu temple in that country’s Punjab province after India lodged a strong protest and summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires over the incident. “Strongly condemn attack on Ganesh Mandir in Bhung, RYK yesterday. I have already asked IG Punjab to ensure the arrest of all culprits and take action against any police negligence. The government will also restore the Mandir,” Pakistan PM said in a tweet.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people vandalised the temple at Bhong village in Rahim Yar Khan district and blocked a nearby highway after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who had been accused of urinating in an Islamic seminary, was granted bail by a local court. In a widely circulated video on social media, a local mob was seen vandalising the idols in the temple with sticks and stones and shouting religious slogans. Pakistan’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed took cognisance of the incident on Thursday after parliamentarian Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, met him to discuss the temple attack. India has, on several occasions, raised concerns over the attacks on minorities and non-Islamic religious structures in Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). In 2020, various temples, including Mata Rani Bhatiyani Mandir in Sindh, Gurudwara Sri Janam Sthan, a Hindu temple in Karak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were attacked by vandals in Pakistan. India has often accused the Pakistani government of failing to prevent such attacks.