Dozens of Islamic extremists attacked a Hindu temple at the Bhong Sharif area at Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan, on August 4. These Islamic extremists desecrated the scared murtis (idols), smashed the temple windows and doors and then brazenly broadcast their heinous act live on Facebook.
Videos of the sacrilegious incident went viral on social media wherein dozens of people were seen gleefully smashing the temple murtis (idols), windows and doors with sticks, stones and bricks without impunity. Around eighty Hindu homes are located around the temple that is surrounded by Muslim majority population.
“The local police were present when a mob of Islamic extremists attacked the temple, vandalized it and desecrated the sacred murtis, but instead of stopping the attackers they left, and the temple was vandalized. The mayhem continued till Pakistani Rangers reached the area and took control of the situation but no one has been arrested,” said a local eyewitness present at the time of the incident.
Fearing an attack by these Islamic extremists the Hindus around the temple locked themselves inside their homes. However, it did not stop these Islamic extremists from attacking the Hindu homes and shops, but they could not do much damage. Rangers had reached the area at that time and the crowd had dispersed.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Chief Minister of Punjab have taken notice of the unfortunate incident and ‘asked’ for the case to be investigated and conviction of culprits. A large section of Pakistani media is running news loaded with words such as ‘minority rights’ and ‘freedom’, but so far no arrests have been made and neither is it expected that any of the culprit would ever be arrested or convicted. All statements and news reports are merely an eyewash that are being floated around to create an impression in the world that Pakistan assures the rights of minorities. In the background, all the culprits will be covered up and ably defended.
Reasons for the attack
The attack on Rahim Yar Khan temple was blamed on an alleged desecration of a madrassa and blasphemy by a local eight-year-old Hindu boy.
According to Dr. Ramesh Vankwani, chief patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, and Dr. J. Paul Chhabria, Head of Pakistan Hindu Forum and Member of the National Commission for Minority Affairs; on July 23 Bhavish Kumar Meghwar, an eight-year-old local Hindu boy had accidentally entered a mosque where the deputy Imam Hafiz Ibrahim scolded him and the child urinated out of fear.
The case was dismissed at that time, but on July 24, an FIR was registered naming “unknown persons”. The big question is when it was known that an eight year old had entered the madrasa why was the ‘name’ of ‘unknown persons’ included in the FIR?
Other locals from Rahim Yar Khan say that the mentally handicapped eight-year-old Hindu boy went to the toilet of the madrassa and not to the library of madrassa as was being alleged in certain quarters. The boy was caught by madrassa clerics, scolded and then handed over to the police. However, the madrassa clerics and other people said that this child had come to the library and urinated on the carpet and so action should be taken against the Hindu boy in accordance with blasphemy laws.
The local police registered a case against this eight-year-old Hindu boy on July 24 under Section 295A and arrested him. When the child was produced in courts on August 4, the court released him on bail because he was a minor and mentally handicapped.
The police explained that since the child was a minor, he could not be given a severe sentence under Section 295A, due to which the magistrate ordered his release on bail on July 28.
Local sources further explained that through the mediation of influential people in the area, the parents of this child had already apologized to the madrassa people saying that the child was mentally handicapped. But soon thereafter inflammatory announcements and speeches started from the mosques provoking locals about how a Hindu child has insulted Islam.
After the announcement from mosques, dozens of people came out in a crowd and first blocked the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) road in Rahim Yar Khan for hours to protest and then attacked the temple. The release of child on bail had further enraged the locals.
“People blocked CPEC Road 25 at around 4 PM. Thereafter the temple was attacked at 6:30 PM. I told the additional IG and then the Rangers were called,” said Dr Ramesh Vankwani.
The face of most of the temple attackers are clearly visible in the videos but still no arrests have been made so far.
It’s been the history of Pakistan that no arrests are made when there are attacks on minorities or the liberals. And then the incident is quickly suppressed despite everybody knowing who is behind such violent and extremist attacks. On the contrary, if there is a small incident against the military establishment, the arrests are made at a lightening pace and the case gets massive coverage across Pakistani media.
Dr J Paul Chhabria, head of the Pakistan Hindu Forum and a member of the National Commission for Minority Affairs, said that around 150 to 200 Hindu families live in Rahim Yar Khan who felt terrorized during the attack. The temple was barely five minutes away from the local police station, but the police did not arrive on time to save the Hindus.
Most of Hindu families from Bhong, Rahim Yar Khan have already started leaving their homes after the temple was attacked and vandalized.
Lal Malhi, Member of the National Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights said in his message on Twitter that most of the Hindu families in Bhong have left their homes in fear after the attack on Hanuman ji’s temple. He demanded that the security of the properties of those who are leaving their homes must be ensured.
“When the protests started on Wednesday, all Hindus locked themselves in their homes out of fear. We were worried for our children. The attackers also tried to raid our shops. The local police stood like spectators. When the Rangers came, we breathed a sigh of relief,” said a local Hindu from Bhong, Rahim Yar Khan.
The Hindu community across Pakistan is raising its voice against this attack and calling on the government to take concrete steps. This attack has been condemned by non-Muslim Pakistanis as well as by several progressive and liberal Muslims. The attack has been described as extremely tragic.
Ramesh Lal, head of the Hindu Panchayat in Hala, Sindh, said that the entire Hindu community was saddened by this incident. He explained that Hindus in Rahim Yar Khan have been living for a long time. “First a temple was attacked in Karak and now this attack happened in Rahim Yar Khan. All Hindus are worried about these frequent attacks.”
Radha Bheel, leader of Dalit Sajjag Tehreek from Thar said that there was a lot of fear in the entire Hindu community due to the incident of Rahim Yar Khan. “I am sitting so far away from Rahim Yar Khan and yet I am afraid that such an incident may happen in my area. The incident in Rahim Yar Khan is not the first incident. Even before this a Hindu boy in our area was forced to curse his own God.”
Other attacks on Hindus in Pakistan
Rahim Yar Khan is not the first case against Hindus in Pakistan.
In November 2020 Muslim extremists attacked Hindus in Karachi and women and children were tortured. Similarly, in April 2017, a group of Islamic militants broke into a temple at Thatta district of Sindh province and smashed the entire structure and threw it into the gutter. Last July, video of a 14-year-old Hindu boy in the Thar region of Sindh province went viral, in which Islamic extremists can be seen holding the boy by his throat and ordering him to say, “Say Allahu Akbar”. After the child says “Allahu Akbar” the man hurls a volley of abuses on the child. Then the video shows the figure of a man with white Vigo car in the background.
The white Vigo vehicles are used only by intelligence agencies in Pakistan. The same white Vigo vehicle has been seen behind all the reported cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan including Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.
Discrimination against minorities is on the rise in Pakistan. And it is the military establishment and their intelligence agencies that are behind the spread of Islamic extremism and provocation because it uses the same Islamic extremist ideology to raise funds not only for security from around the world, but also to perpetuate its power.
There is no difference between the Taliban, ISIS or other Islamic extremist groups and the Pakistan Army. Their main purpose is to spread Islamic extremism around the world and to eradicate other religions.