Speaking at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, India slammed Pakistan for the recent attack on an ancient Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Urging the United Nations to take a neutral stand regarding the safeguarding of religious sites across the world, India pointed out the irony that Pakistan is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution on promoting culture and safeguarding religious sites.
“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’. The resolution cannot be smokescreen for countries like Pakistan to hide behind”, India said at the UN.
On Thursday the United Nations General Assembly 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.
India highlighted the incidents of attack on religious sites in Pakistan
“In world of growing terrorism, violent extremism, radicalisation and intolerance, religious sites and cultural heritage sites remain vulnerable to terror acts and destruction”, India said at the adoption of Resolution on Promoting Culture of Peace and Tolerance to Safeguard Religious Sites.
Indian ambassador to the UN, TS Tirumurti highlighted the incidents where religious sites were attacked in Pakistan. “The images of 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. Most recently, in December 2020, 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”, said Tirumurti. Tiumurti highlighted that India has a stringent legal framework to deal with violence and discrimination based on religion in the form of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
India appealed for an impartial discussion on the issue of religion
Appealing for the conduct of an impartial discussion on the issue of religion India said, “India 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 the UN Alliance of Civilisaions 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”.
Terming India’s mention of attacks on religious sites in Pakistan as ‘unwarranted assertions’, Pakistan rejected India’s claims against it.