Pakistan: Mob Accuses Hindu Sanitary Worker For Burnt Quran Pages Found On Floor, Tries To Lynch Him
As per the report, the police said the rioters wanted to vandalise a Hindu temple and burn down houses belonging to Hindus.
Several Hindu families living in the area have temporarily shifted to alternate accommodation, says report.
Amid worldwide condemnation of the recent attack on celebrated author Salman Rushdie for alleged “blasphemy”, comes yet another case from Pakistan where a man was nearly lynched to death over a similar accusation.
Given the harsh laws related to blasphemy of Islam in Pakistan, the victim, who is a Hindu named Ashok, has been booked and arrested on mere verbal accusation.
The incident took place in Sadar area of Hyderabad in Pakistan.
As per The Dawn, one Bilal Abbasi told the police that he learnt from someone that pages of Quran had been burnt in a shopping complex named Rabi Plaza.
When he rushed inside with eight-ten men, he asked a sanitary worker who had burnt the pages. When the worker remained silent, Bilal got hold of him and took possession of the burnt pages.
Word spread in the market and, within minutes, the market was shut down. The crowds proceeded towards the Plaza and some of them entered it by breaking windowpanes.
On Sunday, videos of the incident were widely circulated on Twitter. One video showed a mob chasing Ashok to catch hold of him while chanting Allahu Akbar and Naara-e-Takbeer.
Another video showed the local police using lathis to disperse the mob.
As per the report, the police booked Ashok under sections 295B and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and arrested him.
Another says the police filed a separate case against those involved in violence under sections of rioting, unlawful assembly, mischief and causing hurt and arrested 48 suspects.
The FIR mentions the suspects using fire as well as lathis, iron roads and other weapons.
The report quotes the police saying the rioters wanted to vandalise a Hindu temple and burn down houses belonging to Hindus.
Several Hindu families living in the area have temporarily shifted to alternate accommodation, the report says.
A report by says that the Plaza houses some Hindu families.
Pakistan and blasphemy laws
Section 295A was enacted by the British in undivided India in 1927 making ‘deliberately’ offending religious sentiments a criminal offence.
Both India and Pakistan inherited the laws post partition. The Pakistan government, however, went on to add 295B and 295C in the 1980s.
While Section 295B makes defiling of the Quran an offence punishable by life in prison, Section 295C makes ‘derogatory’ remarks against Mohammed punishable by death.
It’s pertinent to mention here that blasphemy laws in Pakistan, especially 295C, are routinely misused to harass citizens and to get back at them.
Non-Muslims in Pakistan have been reported to be disproportionate victims of such accusations.
It’s common for fanatics to take law into their own hands in blasphemy cases.
Since 1992, at least 52 people facing such charges have been extra-judicially killed in Pakistan.
In August 2021, an eight-year-old Hindu boy was booked for blasphemy, becoming the youngest accused in Pakistan of such a crime. However, the Pakistan police dropped the charges against him after global outrage.
The boy had reportedly wandered into a madrassa and, terrified to see the maulvi, urinated in the premises. He was accused of desecrating the religious place.
Read about some recent blasphemy-related killings and violence in Pakistan below:
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