Church leaders slam desecration of Hindu temple in Pakistan

Catholic leaders condemn act 'aimed at disturbing the peace and harmony' between Muslims and minorities
Church leaders slam desecration of Hindu temple in Pakistan

The Mata Deval Bhittani temple in Pakistan's Sindh province was desecrated on Jan. 26. (Photo supplied)

Catholic leaders and activists have raised alarm over the desecration of a Hindu temple in Tharkarkar district of Pakistan’s Sindh province.

The incident caused uproar among minorities as it happened a few days after the alleged forced conversion of a teenage Hindu girl, Mehak Kumari, to Islam.

The Mata Deval Bhittani temple in the southern province was vandalized on Jan. 26 night, according to a police report lodged by Hindu man Prem Kumar.

The suspects, later identified by police as young Muslim boys, also desecrated idols of deities.

Cardinal Joseph Coutts, the archbishop of Karachi, strongly condemned the criminal act.

“Such incidents are only aimed at disturbing the peace and harmony that normally prevail between majority Muslims and religious minorities in the province,” Bishop Coutts told UCA News. “But we also hope that police will bring the culprits to justice in accordance with the law.”

Father Saleh Diego, vicar general of Karachi Archdiocese and director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, extended his support to the minority Hindu community.

“We are aware that the Mata Deval Bhittani temple is revered by our Hindu brethren as it was constructed using materials that originally belonged to Jain temple of Khed,” Father Diego said.

“We call on authorities to address the root causes of religiously motivated violence that affects all minority groups living in the country.”

Dr. Sabir Michael, a Christian professor at the University of Karachi and a human rights activist, said Sindh has been witnessing an increase in attacks on minorities’ places of worship.

“Minority communities are also dejected by the recent conversion of underage Christian and Hindu girls to Islam. And now there are reports of an attack on the temple. This will only aggravate the situation,” Michael added.

Police said four Muslim boys aged 12-15 had confessed to their involvement in vandalizing the temple with an aim to steal money.

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