Century-old Hindu temple ravaged in Pakistan: Police

Rawalpindi, Pakistan: Some 10 to 15 assailants stormed and ravaged a nearly century-old Hindu temple in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, police said Monday, before fleeing the scene, the Associated Press reported.

The incident took place Saturday, 7:30 PM, in which the attackers vandalized the door and the stairs of the temple, the report said, and the temple was not yet open for the Hindu community in Pakistan for worship owing to some renovation work undergoing. 

According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Syed Raza Abbas Zaidi, the security officer of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, Northern Zone, lodged an FIR at the Banni police station of Rawalpindi.

Owing to the festival of Holy where Hindus mark the onset of Spring with colors and spraying colored water at each other the temple renovation was temporarily halted. But prior to the renovations, the temple was largely abandoned, AP said in a report, and shop owners in the vicinity of the temple encroached much of the land. 

There were no further details and so far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Hindus are a religious minority in the predominantly Muslim country. Most of Pakistan's Hindus migrated to India in 1947 when the two nations were separated by the British Empire that colonized India for over 200-years. 

In general, Hindus and Muslims co-exist peacefully in Pakistan but in recent years, attacks on Hindu communities and temples have increased. 

Different data reflect a different number of Hindus in Pakistan. According to the Hindu Council of Pakistan, some 8 million Hindus reside in the nation of 212.2 million, comprising just 8 percent of the share. Official data estimates 7.5 million Hindus reside in Pakistan. 

The latest attack, months after a mob demolished a Hindu temple in the country’s northwest, drew criticism on social media. 

In December last year, a mob demolished a Hindu temple in Pakistan's northwest province, causing severe damage to the structure. 

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