Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday August 4th hundreds of people attacked the Sidhi Vinayak (Ganesh) temple in Bhog City in Punjab province, Pakistan. In addition to destruction, desecration, and arson of the temple, neighboring Hindu homes were also attacked. All of this comes in response to a lower court granting bail to a 9-year-old boy who allegedly urinated in a Madrassah.

“This latest attack on a Hindu temple is just one example of the escalating violence against Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan,” said Deepali Kulkarni, HAF’s Director of Human Rights. “Not only was a child charged with blasphemy, but Hindus and their place of worship were attacked when the child was granted bail,” she continued.

Troops have been deployed in the area to prevent further violence, although many Hindu residents had already vacated the area in fear. Pakistani president Imran Khan stated that the government will restore the temple.

This attack is not an isolated event, but is one of the at least six attacks on Hindu temples in the past two years. In December 2020, a nearly identical attack on a Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province took place. Subsequent to the attack, the government made similar assurances that the temple would be rebuilt. Police officers were also arrested for “‘cowardice, irresponsibility and negligence,” for failing to protect the temple.

“The continued violence against Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadiyya Muslims, and other minorities has continued with impunity in Pakistan,” added Kulkarni. “Although superficial government responses have occured in the aftermath of some of these incidents, the violence continues to escalate with little meaningful consequence for the perpetrators,” she concluded.

Read more on human rights in Pakistan here.