Mob attacks man in Chitral for 'blasphemy'

Published: April 21, 2017
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A mob surrounding the Chitral Police Station demanding that a man accused of blasphemy be handed over to them: PHOTO/EXPRESS

A mob surrounding the Chitral Police Station demanding that a man accused of blasphemy be handed over to them: PHOTO/EXPRESS

The mob gathered on nearby rooftops. PHOTO: Express A mob surrounding the Chitral Police Station demanding that a man accused of blasphemy be handed over to them: PHOTO/EXPRESS

CHITRAL: A man was brutally beaten inside a mosque by a mob of angry worshippers who accused him of committing blasphemy following Friday prayers in Chitral, days after a journalism student was killed over a similar allegation.

According to eyewitness account, the man, who was believed to have mental health issues, allegedly committed the offensive act in Shahi Masjid. As worshippers began beating him, the mosque’s imam, fearing for the man’s life, called the police.

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Police took the man to the Chitral Police Station for his protection. They said they were trying to ascertain the man’s mental health. The enraged mob, meanwhile, tried to break into the police station to attack the man.

Police had to open fire in the air and lob tear gas shells to disperse the agitating crowd. The city was on lockdown. A security meeting was called by local authorities to plan a further course of action to resolve the issue.

The mob broke the windows of the police station where the man was being held, officials and eyewitnesses told The Express Tribune.

The police requested the crowd to disperse peacefully, telling them that the man was mentally disabled, but they refused to leave.

The area’s district nazim, deputy commissioner and senior security officials also reached the station and tried to convince them, but failed.

The situation in the area became volatile after law-enforcement agencies fired in the air and used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

A source said security and government officials in Chitral were holding a meeting to chalk out a strategy to deal with the situation.

The Frontier Corps has also been summoned to help defuse the situation, sources said and added at least three people were reportedly injured in the shelling.

The protesters reportedly targeted the SHO’s office and the reporting room.

 

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The mentally-disabled man, RK*, is believed to have made blasphemous remarks while the prayer leader was delivering the Friday sermon.

The prayer leader immediately handed him over to the police to prevent worshippers from attacking him.

Sources said RK was working in Qatar but was sent back to Pakistan after he had developed mental health issues. He had also undergone treatment for his mental illness in Peshawar.

Moreover, local sources said a mob of young men had set on fire the vehicle of the Imam of the Shahi Masjid.

In the adjacent Upper Dir district, the deputy commissioner imposed Section 144 under CrPC for a period of one month, according to an official notification, fearing that bigger crowd might hold demonstrations that could endanger peace and tranquility in the area.

*Name withheld to protect identity of the suspect

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Confused
    Apr 21, 2017 - 9:30PM

    Has it become easy to do blasphemy or have we started construing everything blasphemous? Somebody needs to draw the line.Recommend

  • MAHMUD MAJEED
    Apr 21, 2017 - 9:41PM

    The blasphemy law needs to be revisited soon.What is the punishment if some one repents?
    what is the punishment for an insane person? what is the punishment if blasphemy committed unknowingly? What is the punishment for mob for punishing an alleged blasphemer on the street?Recommend

  • Sexton
    Apr 21, 2017 - 9:51PM

    I do not think that anybody approves of blasphemy but why do Muslims become violent if blasphemy occurs? Both violence and blasphemy are against the law.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Apr 21, 2017 - 9:59PM

    Zia’s laws need to be suspended, if this needs fixing.Recommend

  • Common sense
    Apr 21, 2017 - 10:42PM

    @Brain bro these aren’t Zia’s laws, this law is colonial British law. It is Christian law, and Muslim who practices it, like these idiot mobs, are committing heresy.Recommend

  • vinsin
    Apr 22, 2017 - 1:18AM

    @Common sense:
    Not true. These laws were demanded by Muslims. Zia did change those laws though. I have never seen in Pakistan punishment meted out to those who do against non-Muslims.Recommend

  • Oommen
    Apr 22, 2017 - 3:14AM

    John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Apr 22, 2017 - 4:22AM

    @BrainBro:
    Suspended? Abolish it completely!Recommend

  • Sanity
    Apr 22, 2017 - 5:19AM

    Alright.
    1 Attacking a mentally ill person who is pardoned in the religion.
    2 Burning the car of Imam for protecting the mentally ill.
    3 Breaking down the police station and breaking the windows for protecting a person.

    An idiot can now tell you that, this is not about blasphemy at all.This is deliberate political attack. Someone is inciting violence and promoting destabilization in the country.
    Lets just say that you practice ISLAM whole heartily, Never will you be getting sawab for hitting a mentally ill person, Taking law into your own hand, burning the property of person, hitting the police station or the authorities.

    People realize that you are now becoming a victim of a new kind of fitna. Please spread the message. Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Apr 22, 2017 - 7:02AM

    @Confused:
    Since our performance in hockey and cricket haven’t been stellar of late, it appears this ‘Spanish Inquisition’ mindset has become the new national pastime.Recommend

  • Lalit
    Apr 22, 2017 - 9:08AM

    Rapes and paedophilia in Pakistan are hushed up and swept under the carpet.But the violent and mob crimes like blasphemy and sectarian killings manage to see the light of the day.must devise some way to obfuscate them too.Recommend

  • Dr Taimur
    Apr 22, 2017 - 9:12AM

    These types of incidents are not due to blasphemy law, it has nothing to do with it. No one has been saved by this law for killing someone for blasphemy. It is our fault to take law into our hands. Blasphemy law should be there and when someone is found or accused of blasphemy a proper trial should be followed through proper channel rather than acting by own.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Apr 22, 2017 - 4:08PM

    What an easy way to eliminate your rivals / just point a finger at him and shout “sacrilege” OR ” blasphemy .. ” Recommend

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