A Hindu temple was set fire to and ransacked by a mob in Pakistan, prompting the country to deploy paramilitary forces in a conservative town in the province of eastern Punjab on Thursday to check for communal unrest.
A mob in the town of Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan district attacked a hindu temple after a court granted bail to an eight-year-old Hindu boy who had been accused of urinating on the carpet of a madrassa, or religious school, earlier in the week.
In their fury, the mob damaged statues, burned down the temple’s main door and, for a brief time, even blocked a nearby road.
Police are apparently on the hunt for those responsible for the unrest.
The boy was arrested on charges of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the Islamic seminary’s library where religious books were housed. The crowd claimed that he had committed blasphemy, an act punishable by death in Pakistan.
The country’s prime minister, Imran Khan, took to Twitter to condemn the attack. He explained that he has ordered the provincial police chief to take action against any members of the police whose negligence may have been a contributing factor.
Mr Khan also promised that the government would repair the temple.
Asif Raza, a police official, said that the police have a list of 50 suspects. He added that security had been provided for members of the Hindu community.
Police were told on 24 July by a cleric that he had discovered a young Hindu boy in the Islamic seminary building, in the process of urinating on the ground. A case of blasphemy was registered but a suspect was not named.
Hindus make up a minority of the population in Pakistan and their temples frequently become targets of mob violence. Muslims and Hindus have however mostly lived peacefully in Pakistan although attacks on temples have increased in number in recent years.
The country ranked the highest in the world for incidents of mob violence as well as criminal charges against those accused of blasphemy, according to a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
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