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India lodges formal protest with Pakistan against vandalisation of Hindu temple

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New Delhi, Jan 01: India lodges formal protest with Pakistan against vandalisation of a Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, reports said.

Over 30 people, mostly members of a radical Islamist party, were arrested after the Hindu temple was vandalised and set on fire by a mob protesting against its expansion work in northwest Pakistan.

Representational Image

The attack on the temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak district on Wednesday also drew strong condemnation from human rights activists and Hindu community leaders. On Thursday, the provincial government ordered authorities to reconstruct the damaged temple as it vowed to bring the culprits to justice.

The temple was attacked by the mob after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decades-old building, according to witnesses.

The mob, led by a local cleric and supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure, they said.

According to local police, they arrested more than 30 people, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Rehmat Salam Khattak, in overnight raids. Over 350 people have been named in the FIR, Provincial Police Chief KPK Sanaullah Abbasi has said.

Abbasi said all the sections of law relating to terrorism have been included in the FIR against the accused. The police will ensure protection to worship places of minorities in the province, he added.

Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.

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    According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.

    The majority of Pakistan''s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents. They often complain of harassment by the extremists.

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