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Mob attacks Hindu temple in Pakistan

Tensions high as Hindu is accused of burning Qu'ran

<p>The remnants of the Hindu temple attacked in Sindh province</p>

The remnants of the Hindu temple attacked in Sindh province

  • ucanews.com reporter, Larkana
  • Pakistan
  • March 17, 2014
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Hundreds of Muslims ransacked a Hindu temple and set a community center on fire in Pakistan’s Sindh province on Sunday over accusations of blasphemy, prompting authorities to impose a curfew to control the situation.

The incident took place in Larkana, the home town of the late former prime pinister Benazir Bhutto.

Senior police officer Tauqir Ahmed Naeem said the temple was attacked following rumors that a Hindu man, Sangeet Kumar, had burned pages of the Muslim holy book outside his house.

He said that the alleged blasphemer was taken into protective custody.

“The man, who is accused of blasphemy, is a habitual drug addict,” Param Anand, a member of the temple’s management committee, told ucanews.com. “The Hindu community in Larkana can’t even think of disrespecting Muslims’ religious beliefs or the Qu'ran."

A mob had first surrounded Kumar’s house and demanded that he be handed over to them, said Anand. But the police and rangers acted promptly and managed to take him away.

Later, they forced their way into the Hindu temple near the Jinnah Bagh area, ransacked property and damaged ancient statues, before torching its community center.

He added that some shops owned by Hindus were also looted.

The situation remains tense after Islamist parties called for a strike against the desecration of the Muslim holy book. Security personnel patrolled streets and worship sites in the city.

The minority Hindu community makes up 1.2 percent of Pakistan’s approximately 180 million population, according to Pakistan’s national census.

In a media statement, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed deep anguish and concern over the incident, saying that provision of security to all minorities was the responsibility of the government.

He directed all provincial governments to take comprehensive measures for protecting the life and property of Hindus and other minorities.

A report by a US rights group said last week that governments around the world were increasingly invoking blasphemy laws, with Pakistan by far the highest jailer of citizens accused of attacking religion.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom found that Pakistan had used its controversial law at a level incomparable to anywhere else, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for alleged blasphemy against Islam.

The report charged that the law and the lack of procedural safeguards has contributed to an alarming number of mob attacks and vigilante violence against minorities.

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