Protests erupted after Hindu principal accused of blasphemy
A case was lodged on Monday against 50 individuals who vandalized a Hindu temple in Ghotki after an alleged case of blasphemy.
Large contingents of police and Rangers were deployed in Ghotki on Sunday following protests over the alleged blasphemy by a school principal. Some protesters vandalized a temple and others ransacked the school and businesses owned by Hindus in the city.
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.
“The Sindh government and its ministers seem serious to bring the culprits to book,” a rights activist told SAMAA Digital, requesting anonymity.
“The Muslim brothers in the area are standing with us shoulder to shoulder and they are trying to protect the temples and their Hindu brothers.”
However, the activist said that the people still feel insecure and want an end to injustice on the basis of religion.
Earlier, a student accused the principal, who is Hindu, of blaspheming against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during a class on Saturday. The suspect and his family fled after the incident sparked protests in the city. A case was registered against him on Saturday under Section 295-C of the PPC.
Religious groups and organisations called for a shutter-down strike in the wake of the incident. All business centres in Ghotki remained closed on Sunday. Authorities deployed large contingents of law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces to control the situation.
Sukkur Additional Inspector General Jamil Ahmed said on Sunday the principal was in the “safe custody” of the police. He said 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 said on Twitter.
Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani said the FIR of the incident had been registered and the suspect was in police custody. He promised a transparent investigation into the incident. He said that if it was proven, it was still an act of an individual and the entire Hindu community could not be blamed for it.
“If the allegations are proven, then action will be taken against the accused in accordance with the law,” he said, appealing to local religious leaders and the general public to remain calm. “We regard public sentiment, but an entire community cannot be blamed for an individual’s act,” he said.