The government on Thursday said there were reports of atrocities on minorities and vandalism of their places of worship in Pakistan and Islamabad has been asked to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of such despicable acts to justice. In replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said India has been calling upon Pakistan to take steps to protect and promote the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities and their places of worship.
"There have been reports of atrocities and acts of vandalism of places of religious worship belonging to minority communities in Pakistan. Government has raised all such cases with the government of Pakistan," he said. "Pakistan has also been asked to take immediate measures to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of such despicable and heinous acts to justice," the minister said. To a separate question, he said incidents of killing, persecution, intimidation, abduction, forced conversions, desecration and vandalisation of places of worship of minorities and attacks on their business establishments in Pakistan are regularly reported in the media. "The issue of the continued mistreatment of minority communities in Pakistan is highlighted by India through bilateral diplomatic channels and at international fora, including at the United Nations," he said.
Besides Pakistan, Muraleedharan said there have been reports of violence and harassment against members of minority communities in Bangladesh and Afghanistan as well. "Upon occurrence of incidents of sporadic violence against minorities and their places of worship in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, these issues are raised formally as well as informally with the respective interlocutors," he said.
He said the governments of Afghanistan and Bangladesh have assured India that they take all possible steps to protect their citizens, including religious minorities.