More than 30 people, who largely are affiliated with a radical Islamist party, were arrested after a mob set on fire and damaged a Hindu temple in northwest Pakistan, officials on Thursday said.
The vandalisation of the temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Karak district on Wednesday caused strong criticism from human rights groups and minority Hindu community leaders.
Local police said that over 30 people have been arrested so far, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Rehmat Salam Khattak, in overnight raids, as reported by news agency PTI.
Provincial Police Chief KPK Sanaullah Abbasi said that more than 350 people have been named in the FIR.
Abbasi also said that all sections of law related to terrorism against the accused have been included in the FIR.
Led by a local cleric and supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group) and angered over local officials who gave permission to renovate the structure, the mob demolished the temple that was undergoing construction.
Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri described the act “a conspiracy against sectarian harmony” on Twitter on Thursday, and said, “protection of religious freedom of minorities is our religious, constitutional, moral and national responsibility”.
Taking cognizance, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the local officials to appear before it on January 5.