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Pakistan Muslim Mob Destroys Minority Hindu Temple

FILE - Members of a civil society group hold a demonstration demanding the government allow the construction of a Hindu temple, in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 8, 2020.

Police in northwestern Pakistan say an angry mob Wednesday led by local Islamist clerics vandalized and set on fire a Hindu temple.

The attack took place in district Karak of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Witnesses said area police dispersed the crowd of about 1,000 people, but not before they demolished the minority community’s worship place.

A post-attack video clip circulating on social media showed the large group of people assaulting and tearing down the walls of the Hindu temple. Police confirmed an under-construction adjacent private home of a Hindu also was demolished.

Residents said the minority community had intended to extend the worship place and sought formal permission from the district administration.

The move reportedly drew strong denunciation from leaders of local Islamic parties, who organized Wednesday’s mob to demand the removal of the century-old temple.

The district police chief told reporters the attack was under investigation and promised legal action against “all the people who took the law in their hands.”

Pakistani Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari denounced the attack and urged provincial authorities to bring to justice those responsible.

“We as a govt have a responsibility to ensure safety & security of all our citizens & their places of worship,” she tweeted.

The Hindu temple had previously been attacked and destroyed in 1997, before it was reconstructed in 2015 on orders of Pakistan's Supreme Court.

Extremist attacks on the worship places of minority communities in majority-Muslim Pakistan are not uncommon.