India on Thursday said that Pakistan did not deserve to be a co-sponsor to a United Nations resolution for promoting the protection of religious sites, as the country had allegedly “explicitly supported” a mob that set on fire and demolished a Hindu temple in December last year, reported ANI. New Delhi alleged that Islamabad’s agencies remained “mute spectators” while the temple was being razed.
The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution for “promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites”. The resolution calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and for the diversity of religions and beliefs.
India’s Permanent Envoy to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said that the resolution “cannot be used as a smokescreen for countries like Pakistan”.
“It is a matter of great irony that the country where the most recent attack and demolition of a Hindu temple took place in a series of such attacks and where the rights of minorities are being emasculated is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution under the agenda item ‘Culture of Peace’,” Tirumurti said.
The diplomat added, “A historic Hindu temple was attacked and set on fire by a mob in the town of Karak in Pakistan with explicit support and connivance with the law enforcement agencies which, stood as mute spectators while the historic temple was being razed.”
India called on the United Nations to apply the “principles of objectivity, non-selectivity and impartiality” to form the basis of discussions especially on the issue of religion. “The United Nations including UN Alliance of Civilizations should not take sides and as long as such selectivity exists, the world can never truly foster a culture of peace,” Tirumurti said. “We must stand united against the forces that supplant dialogue and peace with hatred and violence.”
On December 30, about 2,000 men ransacked a historic temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district and an adjacent Hindu shrine, destroying the compound and setting fire to it. The mob led by a local cleric was enraged by the renovation of a building adjacent to the temple that was recently bought by the Hindu community to facilitate visiting devotees, according to Al Jazeera. The attack took place after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate the temple.
On January 1, the Imran Khan-led government of Pakistan announced that the Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj Samadhi temple would be rebuilt. A week later, Pakistan’s Supreme Court also ordered the rebuilding of the temple.
The Pakistani authorities also made a spate of arrests and sacked a local police chief and 11 other police personnel for failing to protect the Hindu temple, Al Jazeera reported. The 12 policemen were fired on January 15 over acts of “cowardice, irresponsibility and negligence” for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple.