Hindus in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have decided to pardon the mob that vandalised and burned down a century-old temple in the province.
Local clerics and members of the Hindu community held a meeting on Saturday to resolve the dispute.
According to the dialogue, informally called jigra, the accused have tendered an apology over the attack and a similar incident in 1997. The Muslim clerics have assured full protection to the Hindus and their rights in accordance with the country’s Constitution.
A reconciliation statement from the meeting would be presented to the Supreme Court in a bid to secure the release of the accused from detention.
On December 30 last year, a mob led by some local clerics and members of radical Islamist party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam had vandalised the temple and an adjoining samadhi and set it on fire in Terri village of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district.
Speaking to the media after the meeting with the local Ulema, Pakistan Hindu Council chairman Ramesh Kumar said the incident had hurt the feelings of Hindus across the world.
Kumar, who is also a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Mahmood Khan had chaired the jigra proceedings and thanked him for settling the matter amicably.
Mahmood Khan, in his address to jigra members, had condemned the attack strongly, calling it an attempt to pollute the peaceful environment of the province.
The attack on the temple had drawn strong condemnation from human rights activists and minority Hindu community leaders, prompting the Supreme Court to order its reconstruction.
Nearly 50 people have been arrested in the case.
Following the incident, India had lodged a strong protest with Pakistan. The ministry of external affairs had conveyed its serious concerns to the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.