Pakistan’s Hindus chased out of neighbourhood because of false blasphemy allegations

Hindus in Pakistan forced conversion

All Hindu families living in a six-storey building were forced to leave their apartments after an enraged mob attacked the building while trying to get hold of a man belonging to the Hindu minority community who was booked in an alleged case of blasphemy.

“Everyone has left. Only we are staying on, and we have also temporarily shifted to some other accommodation,” the Dawn quoted a Hindu resident from the building.

“Occupants of the flats are either tenants or owners. Some of them are tenants of Muslim owners, he said, adding that out of a total of 30 families here, around 18-20 are Hindu families living in their flats.

Hyderabad SSP Amjad Sheikh claimed that the mob wanted to burn flats of Hindu community people living in the plaza out of “frenzy.”

He added, “Unruly mobs tried to attack temples at four places but police foiled their attempt.”

Hyderabad DC Fuad Ghaffar Soomro said that the mob tried to attack Bahwani temple in Mochi Gali, Gurpat temple in Seroghat area and Hindu Sochi community hall Mochi Mohallah Seroghat on Sunday evening.

According to the Dawn newspaper, the plaza which has 30 residential flats — five on each floor, stands in the midst of Saddar Bazaar.

The stairs of the first and second floors were littered with glass strewn as a result of yesterday’s stoning from outside by an unruly mob. The electricity supply to the plaza remained disconnected as the mob had cut wires at the plaza’s gate.

Hyderabad police on Sunday picked up a sanitary worker. A case was registered against him under sections 295-B and 34 of PPC on the complaint of Bilal Abbasi, son of Bundo Khan Abbasi, who filed a blasphemy FIR (70/22) claiming, he had learnt that someone had burnt pages of the Quran in Rabi Plaza.

The suspected man was identified as Ashok Kumar who was a sweeper, lodged at Rabia center in Saddar of Hyderabad in Pakistan and was attacked by a violent mob.

The trouble started when news about the alleged desecration of the Quran spread like wildlife across the city. All business and commercial centers were shut immediately. Enraged youth gathered outside the plaza.

Mobile markets located in different plazas of the area remained closed. Shops in the bazaars of Saddar, Tilak Incline, Lajpat Road, Cantonment and district council shopping centers, and other commercial areas in Latifabad remained closed.

The number of furious protesters kept increasing and by 5 pm they were in the thousands, blocking streets leading to the plaza. Six or seven demonstrators managed to enter the plaza through a mezzanine office by breaking windowpanes and using a ladder.

During the attack, a policeman was assaulted while a police mobile was damaged by a mob.

As the mob refused to disperse, police decided to disperse the crowd by resorting to tear gas shelling. This forced the protesters to flee the area, but they re-emerged after a few minutes, the Dawn reported.

Amid the unrest, teargas shelling by police continued on Risala Road till Sunday-Monday midnight. The area remained in darkness. A heavy contingent of police has been deployed in the Saddar area. An armoured personnel carrier (APC) was deployed outside the affected plaza. The law enforcers have blocked streets, leading to the plaza, with barbed wires, the Dawn reported.

The complainant Bilal, claimed he had learnt that someone had burnt pages of the Quran in Rabi Plaza. He said, eight to 10 persons entered the plaza. Bilal claimed that Maulana Amin Zikriya showed him burnt pages near an elevator.

He asked a sanitary worker whether he knew the identity of the man who had done this, but he remained silent.

Bilal claimed that Maulana Amin Zikriya showed him burnt pages near an elevator. He asked a sanitary worker whether he knew the identity of the man who had done this, but he remained silent.

According to Bilal, he got hold of a sanitary worker and took possession of some of the burnt pages. He then handed over the man, along with the burnt pages, to the police, the Dawn reported.

Hyderabad police dispersed the agitated mob which was demanding handing over of the Hindu sanitary worker for desecration of the Quran. However, it was actually a Muslim woman who had burned the Islamic book, as per local media.

The sanitation worker who was arrested following the incident was remanded in police custody for seven days after he was produced in court amidst tight security, the Dawn reported.

The misuse of the draconian blasphemy laws against minorities and even members of the Muslim community to settle personal grudges is rampant in Pakistan.

The minorities in Pakistan are constantly being murdered and subjected to inhuman brutalities in the name of blasphemy, conversion to Islam and other sectarian differences.

Following the incident, Dawn journalist Mubashir Zaidi, in a tweet, said, “Hyderabad police dispersed a violent mob which was demanding handing over a Hindu sanitary worker accusing him of #blasphemy Police claims the sanitary worker was targeted because of a personal clash with a local resident.”

Taking to Twitter, another journalist, Naila Inayat tweeted, “Hindu sanitary worker Ashok Kumar booked under 295B of blasphemy over alleged desecration of the Quran in Hyderabad. The allegation came after a brawl with shopkeeper Bilal Abbasi who then lodged the complaint against Kumar.”

Following the unrest in the city, the Cantonment police had registered an FIR (71/22) on the complaint of Ayraf Gul Awan, a sub-inspector at the police station.

A total of 48 suspects arrested during the disturbances were produced in a court, which granted them bail in a sum of Rs 20,000 each.

The FIR mentioned between 150 and 200 as unknown suspects. The FIR said that the arrested suspects were involved in ransacking and aerial firing on roads while carrying lathis, iron rods, and weapons.

They had damaged private and public properties and created obstruction in the discharge of official duties of police, the complainant said, adding that he and his colleagues also fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd. (ANI)

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