–PTI’s Ramesh Kumar says violent mob desecrated three temples, attacked houses of Hindu community in lastest episode of violence
–Rangers, police deployed to prevent any untoward incident
GHOTKI: An unruly mob on Sunday ransacked “three temples, a school and multiple houses belonging to the Hindu community” after a principal was accused of blasphemy by a student in Ghotki.
The violence took place after an FIR [First Information Report] was registered against the principal of Sindh Public School which accused him of committing blasphemy. The case was filed under Article 295-C and accused the principal of committing blasphemy on the school’s premises.
Videos showing a frenzied mob venting their anger on a Hindu temple and the Sindh Public School in reaction to the alleged incident of blasphemy were making rounds on social media.
According to reports, houses of Hindu families have also been reportedly attacked, with the mob blocking off roads in the area.
Residents of the area demanded the police to arrest the principal, and issued a call for a shutterdown strike and took to the streets in protest.
Large contingents of law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces, including Sindh Rangers, were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Speaking to a local media outlet, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said Hyderabad Deputy Inspector General Naeem Shaikh will head a probe into these allegations. Speaking about the safety of the school principal, he said the suspect was moved to an undisclosed location for safety reasons and will be handed over to Shaikh.
“I have talked to Sindh Inspector General of Police Kaleem Imam who has assured me to fully protect the accused, therefore, I am going to hand [the principal] over to police either in Karachi or in Hyderabad today,” he said.
The MNA said that the protesters had vandalised three temples, a private school and multiple houses belonging to the Hindu community and added that he had asked police to register an FIR against people involved in the riots.
As soaring tensions and vulnerability of the minority community was pointed out by activists on social media, Additional IGP Dr Jamil Ahmed, in a tweet, said the police were taking measures to control the situation.
“Yes, we are trying to deal with a serious situation in a cool, calculated, impartial and professional manner. Moderate and educated sections of society must fully support our earnest efforts to do justice and maintain peace in Ghotki, please,” he implored.
He later tweeted that that the accused was in “safe custody” of the police and a fair investigation would be ensured after confirmation of the facts and justice will prevail. “The situation in Ghotki is back to normal,” the officer added.
Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani said that an FIR of the incident had been registered and the suspect was under the custody of police. He promised a transparent investigation into the incident.
Ghani, however, said it was an act of an individual and the entire Hindu community had no fault in it.
“If the allegations are proven, then action will be taken against the accused in accordance with the law,” he said, appealing local religious figures and general public to remain calm.
“We regard the public sentiment, but an entire community cannot be blamed for an individual’s act,” he said.
The Human Rights Council of Pakistan also expressed concerns on reports of violence against the minority community, calling upon the government to take notice of the incident. “Alarming reports of accusations of blasphemy in Ghotki and the outbreak of mob violence,” the tweet said.
— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) September 15, 2019