Violent clashes as ‘mentally ill’ Christian ‘desecrates’ Quran in Lahore

  • Police clash with protesting Muslim mobs after a mentally challenged man allegedly burns Quranic pages in Lahore’s Dhoop Sari area

Violent clashes erupted between police and a charged Muslim mob following reports that a “mentally challenged” Christian man had allegedly burnt pages of the Holy Quran in Lahore’s Dhoop Sari area on Sunday evening.

According to details, Humayun Faisal, a Christian youth was taken into custody on Sunday night after some locals of the area accused him of setting pages of the Holy Quran on fire. Humayun was charged under Section 295-B, which relates to Quran desecration, and was taken to the Sandha Police Station instead of Gulshan-e-Ravi Police Station in whose precincts the alleged incident had taken place..

Fear gripped the Christian locality after a charged mob of hundreds attempted to attack a church and ransacked and looted Christian homes.

Chaudhry Alam, a local Christian, told Pakistan Today that the mob, some armed with deadly weapons, had also resorted to aerial firing during the protests.

“The mob was chanting slogans and also burnt tyres. Some of them even fired in the air and looted some houses belonging to Christians,” he said, adding that many Christian families had fled the locality while some, including his family, had locked themselves in their homes as violence flared.

Alam and some other locals said that Humayun was mentally unstable and had remained under treatment at a psychiatric hospital for three years. “He (Humayun) is married and has two children. His wife left him some months ago because of his unsound mind,” he said, adding that the charged crowds had also broken down doors of several houses and damaged electricity metres installed on the walls.

Zeeshanul Haq, the complainant in the case, said that the mobs had tried to burn Humayun alive but they had saved his life by handing him over to the police.

Although heavy police contingents have been deployed in the locality to prevent any untoward incident yet most residents have still not returned to their houses fearing a repeat of the Joseph Colony incident.

In March 2014, a charged crowd set 200 houses ablaze in a Christian locality over alleged blasphemous remarks by a resident of the area.

On Sunday night, police stopped the mob from torching the Hazrat Yousaf Church and house of the accused which led to violent clashes between them and the protesters.

As the mob pelted police with stones, two companies of Punjab Rangers were sent to the area to restore peace. The police also resorted to baton-charge after Lahore DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf suffered a head injury in the clashes. Five other police officials were also injured during the clashes.

 

Asher John

Writer is the former Chief News Editor of Pakistan Today and former Editor Quality, Daily Times. He can be reached at [email protected]



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