Just after Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya in 1992 by right-winger Hindus, Muslims in Pakistan had attacked more than 30 Hindu temples across the country, and the Government of Pakistan had closed offices and schools for a day to protest the destruction of a mosque in India.
In Lahore thousands of people had accompanied a bulldozer in demolishing an abandoned Hindu temple. Crowds had set fire to six other temples and stormed the office of Air-India.
“Crush India!” marchers were shouting. “Death to Hinduism!” Business was brought to a standstill by a strike that closed shops and offices.
The demonstrators were protesting the razing of a 16th-century Muslim mosque on 6 December by thousands of Hindu extremists in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya.
The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan had summoned the Indian Ambassador to express Pakistan’s indignation over the attack and to demand that India immediately restore the mosque. The Government had also said it would appeal to the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to impress on India the need to protect Muslims’ rights. Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao of India had expressed sorrow over the destruction and pledged to rebuild the temple. But students from Quaid-i-Azam University gathered at the Indian Embassy and burnt an effigy of Rao. “The only solution for Hindus is a holy war!” the students were chanting.
In Lahore, Muslims used a bulldozer, hammers and hands to demolish the Jain Mandar temple near Punjab University. The police did not intervene. Nor did they act when a crowd stormed the Air-India office, dragged furniture into the street and set it on fire. Because of religious and border disputes, relations between India and Pakistan have been hostile since the two nations were created in 1947 by the partitioning of Britain’s former colony on the subcontinent.
Protesters had attacked five temples in Karachi also and hurled rocks and set fire to 25 temples in towns across the southern province of Sind, where 95 percent of the Hindus in Pakistan lived then. In Sukkur, a town in Sind, the police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd that attacked shops owned by Hindus.
The police used tear gas to break up a crowd of 200 who hurled stones at a Hindu temple and broke down the doors of Hindu houses in the western city of Quetta. Several people were arrested and hurt, and a large police contingent was posted in the district to protect Hindus.
In Bangladesh, a mainly Muslim country east of India, thousands of Muslims broke through police cordons and set fire to the Air-India office in Dhaka, the capital.
The supreme religious leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had denounced the demolition of the mosque. But his message, read on Teheran radio, was relatively mild. Rather than calling for action by Indian Muslims, he had urged New Delhi to uphold Muslim rights.
(Taken from archive of New York Times)