Naya Pakistan: Police register blasphemy case against 50 rioters for attacking temple

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Police have registered a blasphemy case against 50 rioters for vandalising a Hindu temple following blasphemy allegations against a local teacher in the Ghotki district of Sindh, journalist Mubashir Zaidi has claimed.

“Police registers balsphemy case against 50 rioters who vandalized Hindu temple in Ghotki,” he tweeted Monday.

Heavy contingents of police and rangers were deployed in the district Sunday after violent protests over alleged blasphemy by a school principal belonging to the Hindu community. A temple, school and businesses owned by Hindus in the city were ransacked by the rioters.

The case against the individuals, who attacked the temple, was registered under sections 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class),  147 (rioting) and 149 (connivance) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Dawn quoted Sukkur Additional Inspector General (AIG) Jamil Ahmed as saying that Section 295 was included because the protesters had vandalised a Hindu temple.

“The Sindh government and its ministers seem serious to bring the culprits to book,” a rights activist from the Hindu community told a private media outlet on the condition of anonymity.

However, the activist said that the people still felt insecure and wanted an end to injustice on the basis of faith.

Another case was lodged against 150 people — 27 named and 123 unidentified persons — for blocking roads. A third FIR [First Information Report] pertaining to rioting and theft was filed against 23 people, including 11 unidentified persons, over reports that protesters had stolen goods from multiple shops in Shahi Bazar.

RIOTS OVER ‘BLASPHEMY’:

Law and order of Ghotki and surrounding areas deteriorated on Sunday as people in large numbers took to the streets to protest against an alleged incident of blasphemy.

The protests began on Saturday after an FIR was filed against the principal of Sindh Public School on the complaint of Abdul Aziz Rajput, a student’s father who claimed that the former had committed blasphemy.

The FIR was lodged under Article 295(c) — that pertains to “derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)” — of the PPC.

Residents of the area demanded that the police arrest the principal, issued a call for a shutter-down strike, and took to the streets in protest. Videos of stick-wielding protesters were shared on social media on Sunday, in which they were seen vandalising a Hindu temple and damaging the school where the alleged incident took place.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also shared a video of protesters breaking the infrastructure of the school and expressed concern over the situation.

“Alarming reports of accusations of blasphemy in Ghotki and the outbreak of mob violence,” it said in a tweet.

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