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India files protest with Pakistan over Hindu temple demolition


India has formally protested with Pakistan over recent vandalism of a Hindu temple in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, people familiar with the events who requested anonymity said Friday. “The matter was officially discussed with the Pakistani side and a strong protest was filed,” one of the people said.

Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj’s samadhi along with Krishna Dwara Mandir in Teri village in the northwestern city of Karak was vandalized by a mob on Wednesday. The mob claimed that the temple had invaded additional land and set it on fire. At least two dozen people were arrested in overnight raids after the Hindu temple was attacked on Wednesday, according to reports. Some 1,500 people were reported to have participated in the attack on the temple.

The arrests came after the country’s Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed took note of the attack on the place of worship in Teri village on Thursday suo motu. The Chief Justice took the plunge after being briefed on the temple fire by minority lawmaker Ramesh Kumar during their meeting in Karachi on Thursday. The country’s supreme court will hear the case on January 5.

Pakistan’s minister of religious affairs, Noorul Haq Qadri, called the attack “a conspiracy against sectarian harmony.” Qadri took to Twitter on Thursday, saying that “the protection of religious freedom of minorities is our religious, constitutional, moral and national responsibility.”

Local media quoted defender Rohit Kumar, a representative of the Hindu community, as saying that the temple had not exceeded the agreed area. Meanwhile, dozens of Hindus reportedly demonstrated in the city of Karachi to demand the rebuilding of the place of worship in Teri village.

The temple was attacked and demolished for the first time in 1997 and the local community accepted its reconstruction after the intervention of the supreme court in 2015. There was a dispute over the land allocated to the temple during its reconstruction, causing some misunderstandings among the temple . local supporters and clergy. Guru Sri Paramhans Dayal was buried at the site in 1919 and a temple was built there.

The attack came weeks after the Pakistani government allowed Hindu residents to build a new temple in Islamabad on the recommendation of a council of clerics.

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