'Majority too has rights': Milli Yakjehti Council refuses to condemn desecration of Hindu temple

Published August 6, 2021
This image shows a mob vandalising a Hindu temple in Bhong town, Rahim Yar Khan on Aug 4. — DawnNewsTV/File
This image shows a mob vandalising a Hindu temple in Bhong town, Rahim Yar Khan on Aug 4. — DawnNewsTV/File

The top leaders of the Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC) — an alliance of 22 religious and political parties and organisations — on Friday declined to condemn the vandalism and desecration of a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan earlier this week, saying it was unaware of the details of the incident.

They held a media briefing in Islamabad following the elections for top positions in the Supreme Council of the MYC . The Supreme Council of the MYC unanimously re-elected Sahibzada Abul Khair Zubair of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) as president and Liaquat Baloch of Jamaat-i-Islami as secretary general for the next three years.

During the briefing, when reporters asked about the position of the MYC on the temple attack in RYK, the newly elected president started talking about an incident in Hyderabad instead.

“There is a Muslim family living in front of a temple in Hyderabad. The area also housed some Hindu families and they filed a complaint to the authorities that sacrificing [a] cow in front of the temple should not be allowed,” Zubair said.

“The majority too has rights,” he added.

Editorial: The desecration of a temple in Punjab has once again exposed how tenuous minority rights are in Pakistan

The MYC president further said that the rights of the religious minorities have been safeguarded under the Constitution and Sharia.

”We do not deny the rights given to the minority communities in Islamic laws and the laws of the country, but denying the rights to the majority community too was not fair,” he added.

The journalists went on to ask if, in the same vein, the actions of the governments led by majority communities in India and Israel too were justified even if they were violations of human rights and desecration of the religious places of Muslims.

They also questioned the top leaders of the mainstream religious parties in the country why they were failing to condemn the mob attack at the temple.

In response, the MYC president said that they cannot comment as they were not aware of the ground realities and details of the incident. Secretary general Baloch added that the MYC will respond when the facts are available to them. “The minority community in the country has complete freedom,” he said.

When they were asked whether they believed the temple's desecration should not be condemned, the former deputy secretary general Dr Saqib Akbar told reporters to move on to the next topic and refrain from arguments over the temple issue.

The MYC meeting earlier decided to play an active role in maintaining a cordial and peaceful atmosphere in the upcoming Islamic month of Muharram, vowing that all parties will play an active role to discourage provocative speeches, statements and actions.

Hundreds of people had vandalised a Hindu temple in Bhong town on Wednesday and blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5) after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated in a local seminary, was granted bail by a local court.

A video clip that went viral on social media showed charged people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights and damaging the ceiling fans.

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