Pakistan police have arrested 26 people belonging to a radical Islamist party on Thursday after a mob attacked and set fire to a Hindu temple in northwest Pakistan.
“We have arrested 26 people including local clerics for destroying a place of worship and inciting people to riot”, local police official Fazal Sher told AFP. He added that police were looking for a further 50 people identified from videos of the attack.
The incident comes weeks after the government allowed Hindu residents to build a new temple in Islamabad on the recommendation of a council of clerics.
According to witnesses, the mob was led by a local cleric and supporters of Pakistan’s radical Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party the Hindustan Times reported.
After the incident took place, Pakistan’s Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, called the attack on the temple “a conspiracy against sectarian harmony.” He also said that “Attacks on places of worship of minority religious groups are not allowed in Islam and protection of religious freedom of minorities is our religious, constitutional, moral and national responsibility.”