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26 held for vandalizing Hindu temple in Pakistan

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KARAK: Pakistan police on Thursday arrested 26 people belonging to a radical Islamist party after a mob attacked and set fire to a Hindu temple in Northwest Pakistan.

Around 1,500 Muslims descended on the temple – which was destroyted in similar circumstances in 1997- after staging a protest against renovations at an adjoining building owned by Hindus.

The temple is located in a remote village in Karak district, about 160 km southeast of Peshawar.

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Discrimination and violence against religious minorities are commonplace in Pakistan, where Muslims make up 97 per cent of the population and Hindus around 2 per cent.

Hindus have not lived in the area since the partition of British-ruled India in 1947 when Pakistan was created, but Hindu devotees occasionally visit the temple and the tomb of the Hindu saint Shri Paramhans, who according to Hindu faith died in the village in 1919.

Earlier this month, the United States placed Pakistan on a list of “countries of particular concern” for religious freedom violations.

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