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India calls out Pakistan over Hindu temple vandalism, says Islamabad can't hide behind UN resolution

News Agencies | Updated on: 22 January 2021, 10:57 IST

India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for being one of the co-sponsors of a United Nations resolution on promoting a culture of peace even as Pakistan authorities remained "mute spectators" as a mob vandalised a historic temple in its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

"The resolution can not be a smokescreen for countries like Pakistan to hide behind," TS Tirumurti, the Indian ambassador to the United Nations said.

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution on 'Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites.

The resolution calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and for the diversity of religions and beliefs.

"It is a matter of great irony that the country where the most recent attack and demolition of a Hindu temple took place in a series of such attacks and where the rights of minorities are being emasculated is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution under the agenda item "Culture of Peace", Tirumurti said.

Citing the destruction of a Hindu temple in Karak town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in December 2020, Tirumurti said, "a historic Hindu temple was attacked and set on fire by a mob in the town of Karak in Pakistan with explicit support and connivance with the law enforcement agencies which, stood as mute spectators while the historic temple was being razed."

India said that in this world of growing terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization and intolerance, religious sites and cultural heritage sites remain vulnerable to terrorist acts, violence and destruction.

Further, Tirumurti pointed to instances in different parts of the world that remained vulnerable to terrorist acts.

"The images of the shattering of the iconic Bamyan Buddha by fundamentalists are still vivid in our memories. The terrorist bombing of the Sikh gurudwara in Afghanistan where 25 Sikh worshipers were killed is yet another example of this vulnerability," he said.

Trirumurti said India attaches great importance to safeguarding cultural heritage and religious sites. He further said that India also has a strong legal framework for acts of violence or discrimination based on religion including violence targeted towards the places of worship.

India, he said reiterates its call for the application of the principles of objectivity, non-selectivity and impartiality to form the basis of discussions in the United Nations especially on the issue of religion.

"The United Nations including UN Alliance of Civilizations should not take sides and as long as such selectivity exists, the world can never truly foster a culture of peace. We must stand united against the forces that supplant dialogue and peace with hatred and violence, Tirumurti said.

Tirumurti also acknowledged the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Morocco to pilot the delicate negotiations for achieving a consensus text of the draft resolution.


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First published: 22 January 2021, 10:57 IST