Shopkeeper charged with blasphemy over selling shoes with Hindu symbol

Published: June 20, 2016
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Picture shows the sandal which is being sold at shops in Tando Adam inscribed with Hindu sacred word "OM". PHOTO: PAKISTAN HINDU COUNCIL

Picture shows the sandal which is being sold at shops in Tando Adam inscribed with Hindu sacred word "OM". PHOTO: PAKISTAN HINDU COUNCIL

ISLAMABAD: Sindh Police arrested a man under blasphemy laws on Monday for selling shoes with a sacred Hindu symbol, police and Hindu leaders said.

The shopkeeper, Jahanzaib Khaskhili, was arrested in Sindh’s Tando Adam district and the shoes, which carried the “Om” symbol, were confiscated, said Farrukh Ali, the district police chief.

Hindu community leaders called for the shopkeeper to be punished. “The state must play a proactive role in punishing the culprits under the blasphemy laws,” Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron of the Pakistani Hindu Council, said in a statement.

Hindus object selling of shoes inscribed with ‘Om’ in Tando Adam

Tando Adam, about 200km northeast of Karachi, is in Sindh, where the vast majority of the country’s approximately three million Hindus live.

The blasphemy laws make it a crime to insult any religion and have specific sections for defiling the Quran or insulting the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that carry a life sentence and mandatory death sentence, respectively.

If convicted, the shopkeeper faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, in addition to a possible fine. Ali, the police chief, said Khaskhili had cooperated with authorities and appeared not to have intended to inflame religious sentiment.

“We will do this according to law, but prima facie it seems that he did not have any intention,” said Ali, adding that police were now investigating the supplier of the shoes, who is based in Punjab province.

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“The responsibility in this case will be with the people who actually manufactured the shoes … they would probably have done it intentionally,” he said.

Rights groups say Hindus are often at risk of discrimination and hate crimes, including forced conversions and economic discrimination.

Vankwani had on Sunday raised concerns over some shopkeepers offering shoes with sacred Hindu names in Sindh. “Since the last three years on the occasion of Muslim Eid festival, some shopkeepers in Tando Adam are offering shoes on which Hindu religious holy name ‘Om’ is displayed,” he said, adding “Its purpose is just to insult the sentiments of local Hindus.”

Pakistan Hindu Seva, a group working for religious harmony in the country, had also urged the locals of Tando Adam to address the issue by remaining “within the jurisdiction of law to avoid any violence”.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • fawad
    Jun 20, 2016 - 5:57PM

    “We will do this according to law, but prima facie it seems that he did not have any intention,”

    Many poor souls were earlier burnt alive or killed or are in jail, they all did everything unintentionally, please be considerate about them too or do same with this guy, don’t discriminate. Recommend

  • Fahim
    Jun 20, 2016 - 6:09PM

    There is no blasphemy. I don’t know why he is arrested.y Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Jun 20, 2016 - 6:29PM

    ExcellentRecommend

  • turbo
    Jun 20, 2016 - 7:06PM

    somebody probably saw this over the internet and thought it to be a cool design…what a shameful law this is!Recommend

  • Bait
    Jun 20, 2016 - 7:32PM

    We must be equally intolerant of everyone! Tolerance will not be tolerated!Recommend

  • Junaid
    Jun 20, 2016 - 7:51PM

    @Fahim: Yes its blasphemy only if it is against Islam.. U r a true muslim.. no space for any other group..Recommend

  • AD
    Jun 20, 2016 - 7:58PM

    In Hinduism, there is no such things as blasphemy. No one can insult God. Just mind your business.Recommend

  • Disgusting
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:15PM

    The despicable rights groups are active in Pakistan while in Bharat alias Hindustan they never come out unless their women are raped in Buses. This is total descrimination and deliberate provocation by these agents of enemy. Ramesh Kumar is an MNA of Nawaz League and here he is trying to influence the authorities which is another offence. This is not a case for Blasphemy. Infact to call it Blasphemous is Blasphemy. Recommend

  • Wiserneighbour
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:33PM

    @Fahim,can you explain why no blasphemy?Recommend

  • littlehurt
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:34PM

    Well I appericate Pakistan Sindh Police to acting on this and the Pakistani people. This was a wrong example set by this people coz 2morrow we can also come up with ways to insult your religion as well. So lets act more matured and led by example. Good job Pakistan Recommend

  • leela4fun
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:13PM

    Aren’t blasphemers eligible for the death penalty in Pakistan? Let us see if the court system works!Recommend

  • Another Indian
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:28PM

    Though a Hindu, I have to say that accusing the shopkeeper of blasphemy is a bit much.Recommend

  • Xyz
    Jun 21, 2016 - 2:44AM

    Quite a dilemma…. as a Hindu… I believe his is ridiculous. God is above any such silly human symbolism and grievances. God is god…. how can god ever be insulted or defamed or any of that.

    On the other hand I wonder about discrimination. How many Pakistanis will consider this blasphemy and worthy of punishment considering non Muslims are accused of blasphemy for even the smallest of things.Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Jun 21, 2016 - 2:58AM

    @fawad: Prima facia those who are behind the bars for blasphemy they did not have intention. Why spare those who insulted the GOD written in Sanskrit.Will it be acceptable that some one insults ALLAH in any other language be set free. Why Islamic Mulla is silent over this case of clear blasphemyRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jun 21, 2016 - 3:15AM

    This news says:
    “Since the last three years on the occasion of Muslim Eid festival, some shopkeepers in Tando Adam are offering shoes on which Hindu religious holy name ‘Om’ is displayed,” he said, adding “Its purpose is just to insult the sentiments of local Hindus.”

    Hindus like me do not get offended if Muslims insult Hindu beliefs. We may feel sad and hurt, but do not get angry and start to burn down the neighborhood, village or city. Nor do we advocate killing of those who commit these acts. We believe that our God is powerful that he does not need humans to protect him nor can humans harm him.

    The muslim shopkeeper and the manufacturer intentionally wanted to insult Hindus of Pakistan and their religious sentiments because they sell these shoes only during Muslim festival times and not at other times and have been doing it repeatedly for three years. Recommend

  • adha sach
    Jun 21, 2016 - 3:21AM

    @Fahim:
    @Junaid

    What sort of perverted logic is this? Blasphemy is blasphemy – regardless of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism or Christianity. If you do not prosecute this accused to the fullest extent of the law, then the judicial system becomes a farce – a big joke. Is Pakistan truly a democracy? If yes, then show the world that you are impartial and unbiased. Don’t call others “intolerant” when you practice the highest form of intolerance in your own house. Recommend

  • pankaj
    Jun 21, 2016 - 3:51AM

    Waht??
    Has Pakistan still some hope??
    This kind of news is weird, at ;east from Pakistan.Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2016 - 2:19PM

    If true, this is very shocking and heart-breaking for every one in Pakistan. I could not find Om on this chappal shown with the story, can someone point it out where “Om” is inscribed on this chappalRecommend

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