A man was arrested on Tuesday after a video of him purportedly intimidating and abusing a Hindu boy, forcing him to condemn his religion, went viral on social media.
An FIR was also lodged against the perpetrator, identified as Abdul Salam Abu Dawood, at the Mithi Police Station under Sections 295-A and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Section 295-A criminalises “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and Section 298 prohibits citizens from saying anything with the deliberate intent to hurt religious sentiments.
In the video Dawood could be seen grabbing a teenage boy by his collar and insisting that he praise the Almighty and curse his Hindu deities. Dawood then curses the teenager and purportedly shoves him aside, condemning him for his religion.
TW: Offensive Language, Racist Slurs— The Express Tribune (@etribune) July 27, 2021
Abdul Salam Dawood, the man in the viral video who tortured a Hindu youth in Thar – including forcing him to commit sacrilege and abuse Hindu deities – has been arrested following uproar on social media.#etribune #ArrestAbdulSalamDawood pic.twitter.com/564DRyaMm3
The terrified teenager, identified as Mukesh Bheel, pleads with Dawood for mercy and was let go only after he complies with Dawood’s demand. Cursing Bheel, Dawood then moves towards his vehicle - a white Vigo.
When the video went viral on social media netizens called for action against the perpetrator.
“We Hindu and Muslims live side by side in Tharparkar,” said Narain Kolhi, a resident of Tharparkar. Such incidents disturb religious harmony, he said, demanding that the government take appropriate action against such citizens.
Subsequently, the police managed to identify Dawood and arrested him in the remits of Khoski Police Station.
Confirming the arrest, Special Assistant to Sindh Chief Minister Veerji Kohli told The Express Tribune that the incident captured in the video took place around 15 days ago. He said that Dawood was a driver and worked with an official employed by a company operating in the Tharparkar district. “The man [himself] is not the employee of any company or organisation working in the district,” Kolhi said, dismissing speculation that Dawood was an employee of a private company operating in the area.
However, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh told The Express Tribune that Dawood “was outsourced by a company. He left the job before the incident”. Shaikh condemned the incident and confirmed the arrest.
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