A Hindu temple has been vandalised by a group of unidentified people in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, the latest incident of vandalism against the places of worship of the minority community in the country.
The attack on Shri Mari Maata Mandir in “J” area within the limits of Korangi police station in Karachi has caused panic and fear among the Hindu community in the area where police were deployed to avoid any untoward incident, police said.
According to an FIR registered at the Korangi police station, five men on motorcycles stopped by the temple late on Wednesday night and inquired about the whereabouts of the caretaker, Dawn newspaper reported.
When two workers who were painting the walls inside the temple told the men that the caretaker wasn’t available, the suspects started pelting stones at an idol, the complainant, Sanjeev Kumar, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
“They also threatened the workers and then fled from the crime scene,” he said. “We don’t know who has attacked and why.”
After getting information, the police reached the area and inspected the temple and inquired about the incident.
Korangi Senior Superintendent of Police Faisal Bashir Memon said that the temple was located inside a hall of a house in the area and renovation work was underway there.
A case against the miscreants has been registered under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The police are further trying to obtain CCTV footage of the area to arrest the suspects as soon as possible, Memon added.
Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh on Law and Karachi Administrator, tweeted a scan of the criminal complaint, promising that the “culprits will be brought to justice”.
“The damage caused to the Mandir will also be repaired,” tweeted Siddiqui, who is also the spokesman for the Sindh Government.
Temples belonging to the minority Hindu population in Pakistan are often the target of mob violence.
In October, a historical temple located at the bank of the Indus River in Kotri was allegedly desecrated by unidentified people.
In August, dozens of people reportedly vandalised a Hindu temple in the town of Bhong and blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway after an eight-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated in a local seminary, was granted bail by a local court.
Following the court’s decision, a mob of young men gathered and vandalised the Shree Ganesh Hindu temple in the town.
In December 2020, a century-old temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district was vandalised by a mob. The then Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed ordered authorities to reconstruct the temple. He later inaugurated the refurbished temple during the Diwali celebrations.
According to a report by the Centre for Peace and Justice Pakistan, the Muslim-majority country is home to 22,10,566 people from the minority Hindu community, comprising only 1.18 cent of the total registered population of 18,68,90,601.
The report, based on data collected from National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), said that minorities constituted less than five per cent of the total population of Pakistan, with Hindus being the largest minority community.
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.