In an extraordinary turn of events, Section 295-A was used to register a blasphemy case against Muslim men for damaging a Hindu temple during protests on Ishq-e-Rasool Day.
Section 295-A is the lesser known, non Islam-specific clause of the country’s blasphemy law.
The Shri Krishna Bhagwan Mandir, located in the Gulshan-e-Maymar area of Karachi, was vandalised by a mob rallying against the anti-Islam film ‘Innocence of Muslims’. They also ransacked nearby houses where members of the Hindu community reside, and looted jewellery and other valuables.
For its part, the Gulshan-e-Maymar police registered a case using 295-A (‘deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’) along with other charges of looting, vandalism and theft, against the protesters.
Nine people, including one Maulvi Habibur Rehman and his accomplices, men from nearby residential areas, have been nominated. SHO Jaffar Baloch said, “For me, every believer is the same. The desecration of a temple meant blasphemy to me, and that’s why we inserted that section.”
While no one has been arrested so far because the accused are on the run, security has been beefed up in the Hindu locality.
Scenes of chaos
In the single-room temple, destroyed sculptures of Hindu gods lay scattered. Too devastated to pick up the smashed pieces, its caretaker Maharaj Sunda cried, “I devoted my life to serve the gods, and seeing them like this makes me wish for death.” When the attack took place at 8:30 am, the Maharaj was tending to animals near the temple. Frightened screams from within the temple brought him running back.
When he entered the temple, a scene of chaos greeted him. Six statues of Hindu gods were destroyed. An infuriated mob of 150 people, carrying rocks and sticks, barged in and took away gold adornments from the four-foot statues before smashing them to the ground. Worth more than Rs1 Lakh each, the sculptures were brought from India when the temple was made in 2000.
“It was terrible. Everyone was running to save their lives. Some like me got attacked by stones when we tried to stop them,” said one man named Govinda, pushing his hair back to show a wound on his forehead. The rioters then moved onto their holy books. Showing torn pages of Geeta, the Maharaj’s eyes welled up with tears. “They ripped pages from the old Geeta, and took away the new one.” A broken piece of Radha’s face lay on the floor. A picture of well-known philanthropist Ruth Pfau, who supported an NGO that built the temple, was also torn.
The protesters, who left no stone unturned, then entered nearby houses, snatching gold earrings from newly-married Lakshmi and mangal sutars from others. Another Pathani displayed a scar on her ear where men had ripped out her only gold possession, a single earring. Hurling stones at houses, they also injured a woman who was washing clothes.
The locals had no idea what the protestors were rallying about before they entered the area. All they knew that they were angry with ‘the Americans’. “We are not Americans. We have no link with them. Why were we attacked?” said a resident. This was not the first such incident in the area.
The mob finally ran away when Sikh men in the locality reached the spot with their traditional daggers, kirpans. Since the incident, no prayers have been held at the temple. Men have stopped going to work. Children are afraid to play outside.
“We are Pakistanis. We have never been to India. Let us live here,” said the Maharaj.
Long way to go
Welcoming the move by the local police, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairperson Zohra Yusuf added, however, that she had never heard of a blasphemy case registered against Muslims for damaging a house of worship.“When Ahmadi houses of worship are attacked, blasphemy sections are not inserted. Also, minorities are fearful to lodge complaints.”
Her concern is lent credence by the fact that four churches in the city have been attacked in 2012, but no FIR against their desecration has been registered. HRCP council member Asad Iqbal Butt, who visited the temple, called it the responsibility of the government to rebuild the temple. “We also demand a boundary wall for the Hindus.” Butt said he called up various Hindu panchayats for help, but no one responded. “Had it been a rich Hindu community, the panchayats would have reacted otherwise,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2012.
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Tolerance towards other religion is the main preaching of every religion. This madness ransacking of Hindu Temples and tearing away of Holy Book shows that we are moving towards a dark path since no religion has given that obsession permission. A true lover of God will always show kindness and respect towards other. In this Cosmic World God is one some call it Allah, same call it Christ others call it Ram and the list goes on. The path of reaching him may be different but our ultimate goal is one and that is GOD. Please for GOD Shake don't indulge in such madness crime towards GOD
Islam never teaches to hate each others but to respect each others humanbeings.
and then hindus in india make fun of sikhs .....
sikhs are peaceful persons.
I condemn the attack on the places of worship of minority people in Pakistan;however I appreciate the Good job by the SHO; Pl keep it up; Let your action be a guiding spirit to all law abiding officers in Pakistan. Let us all adhere to 'live and let to live all "policy on this earth.
I highly appreciate what the SHO has done and really appreciate what he has said. At least there are some sensible people still in this world. SHO Jaffar Baloch has shown not only sensitivity to this situation but has also shown respect to other religions, a sign of humanity right that we need right now.
in every court of law all over the world,in nearly 214 countries there should be legislation not to make an anti religion movies.if such things happen the concerned people should be punished severely.
Remember what happened to the Taliban after they broke the Buddha statue in Bamian(Afghanistan). The end for these mavericks is sure and very near.
Sadly, there was a similar occurrence in Bangladesh. A YouTube posting of a reported Buddhist boy with a half burned Koran led to the torching of a Buddhist temple there.\
@Logic. Europe: stop being illogical!
It is really Heartening to see that people and the Police officer are condemning this act of violence on Hindus and other Minorities in Pakistan. Kudos and great work !!
lol these indians. whether you are pleased or not, we don't care.
Mobs in Pakistan take advantage of attacking and destroying non-Muslim places of worship and property. The movie was likely made by a Christian. I saw the Innocence of Muslims only after observing the behavior of Believers in the land of the pure. This is nothing new. It shows what the land of the pure is like - I will keep my tourist dollars elsewhere.
While I appreciate this act of equality. But Blasphemy law as such needs overhaul. People who vandalize anything symbolizing others faiths should be criminally punished under disturbing harmony rather than labeling it blasphemous.
Hindus are surviving only because of Sikhs bravery and matyrdam of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji and Shri Guru Gobind singh ji. Being a Hindu , i salute Sikhs.
The SHO deserves to be commended for his sense of duty..that's what a real cop is ..beyond the religion caste or family he belongs to..a rare being in uniform of police in the subcontinent ....good job daroga Ji ...for a billion plus south Asians ...you are a model of a cop...taking care of citizens in your jurisdiction .....without favour or prejudice
Those few misguided men do not represent a country or religion, I am pleased to see that most pakistanis do not support such incidents. I believe it is not about religions liking each other, it is about tolerance. Kudos to the police officer.
Here is something to think about. Why are there no acts of riots, burning, destroying and killing against Muslims by Hindus in India or elsewhere on this act of desecration of Hindu temple and holy books? Why is there no call for Youm e Ishq e Krishna in India?
" " :-(
@anonymous: Hats off Mr. Jafar. You are way better than many preachers, pundits, maulanas put-together. Every believer is same indeed, and nobody has right to call others wrong, or call them names for not sharing your belief.
After 65 years of State abetted Conversions and Persecution that reduced the religious minorities in Pakistan to just 3%, SHO Jaffar Baloch has shown that a speck of humanity is still flickering somewhere in Pakistan. May his tribe grow.
The SHO's statement is in line with the famous speech by Jinnah where he said everybody is free to practice their religion.
When I was at University at UCL one of my lecturer told me that by 2025 there will be no such thing as Pakistan. He predicted it will be part of India just like East Germany. With recent events his predictions appear to be spot on. However, the word "Pakistan" will still remain in the history books. Your guess of how it will be remembered is as good as mine.
@Raw is War: You heard it about 1400 years ago.
One of the best statements to come out of Pakistan:
SHO Jaffar Baloch said:
“For me, every believer is the same. The desecration of a temple meant blasphemy to me, and that’s why we inserted that section.”
Thats is pure Islam.
May Allah bless you!
I am a Muslim and honestly, I can say that we feel sad when these things happen. Punish the miscreants with execution.
It is not unusual, it is getting enacted again and again from that time when 360 idols were destroyed mecca in 630 A.D. So it is being continued from that to-day. So one should not offended they are doing their religious duty without caring for others agony and pain.
good move by the police
Should there be a mock trial of Mehmood Gheznavi who committed religious blasphemy allegedly 17 times?
If prosecutors and courts play their role independently, without coming under pressure from religious violent groups, this case will send a message to bigots who have no regards for others' religion or feelings but want everyone else to be scared of their brand of religion.
"SHO Jaffar Baloch is a hero for acknowledging justice and equality. Hats off to that man"
He will be soon transferred for his action!
So how come it’s only a maximum punishment of three years under 295A and not death sentence?
No you don't need to apply blasphemy laws. They vandalised and robbed private property and wrecked violence on people. They should be chanrged with that and severely punished.
No one in India will take any notice of this.
Why are people so angry at people who looted temples when we praise our ancestors who did the same? Ever heard of Mahmood Ghaznavi?
Very good article by Rabia Ali, really the SHO did a good job ,its proved that in Pakistan, some body have sympathy for minorities.
@Tariq: Once a frog, stung by a scorpion, asked: "why did you do this?" The Scorpion replied: "It is my nature."
Youll never read this news in times of india....
or it will be just that a Hindu temple was desecrated....
Good to hear the police took some action against those mullahs who think they can do just about anythin in the name of Allah.Now if the courts manage to punish those culprits and treat them the way Asiya bibi has been treated- we would be able to say justice has been served.
It would be really nice if the Muslim community got together to help rebuild the temple and replace what has been broken and stolen. Small acts of kindness and humanity is what Islam teaches us, we must first learn to be an insaan before we can claim to be a musalmaan.
And what about the Babri masjid that was destroyed and burnt in india,,,,, Did you forgot that,,,,,,, although i condemn this act of savagery.
Hats off Mr Jaffar Baloch.Pak needs such type of officers and people who may brightens d name of our beloved country and send d positive msg to d whole world.
Every sector of Pakistan was hit. Not just minorities. Muslims were harmed by setting fire to their businesses and looting them. Minorities by looting their religious places and setting fire to them. The mode of attack is the same- just the way it was done was different!
@Sinclair: Blasphemy laws are just wrong, both in India and Pakistan.
India does not have blasphemy laws.
Time to save ISLAM from Pakistanis.
When Hina Rabbani Khar was recently at the UN, she called for "tolerance and acceptance" for Muslims worldwide. She even suggested a blasphemy caveat to lend credence at the UN to stop insults to Islam and your prophet. Now how about the world turning against Pakistan (which seems to be fancying itself as the protector of Islam although it commits some of humanity's worst crimes in the name of religion !!!) and boycotting it? Pakistan is already considered a dirty word in international politics. This will surely add to its glorious "reputation". I also believe that Pakistan should stop the hypocrisy of moralizing and preaching about the treatment of Muslims in other countries because it is has no moral, legal or any other right to do so. Pakistanis are viewed worldwide as nothing but a parasitic nation that comprises of freeloading and marauding killers of minorities. Decent Pakistanis should raise this question through their elected representatives. They need courage to do that, failing which the entire nation will burn in the fire of destruction and death sparked by self-serving and hate-mongering mullahs who are transforming the nation from a modern state to a stone-age piece of land where savage-like uneducated mobs run the show. Would the Zardaris, Sharifs, Imran Khans and the Gucci-attired Hina Rabbani Khar not say something now?
BEST news I've heard in a long time. Hopefully it's more than just a publicity stunt and justice is actually served. Equality is a must in any society and it's about time we had that in ours.
We must appologise to hindus as the land belonged to themThey let islam flourish and spread in thir land and then what they get
i salute sho jaffer baloch
Its good that the SHO has decided to take action against the culprits. But I feel every little will happen on the ground. Secondly, in my opinion this is not just blasphemy, this is hate crime, loot and dacoity. Most often blasphemy is peaceful and non-violent ( except for the zealots who wanna fight). Non-muslims in Pakistan can never breathe free until Pakistan becomes secular.
@It Is (still) Economy Stupid:
How many Muslims were there in local community who participated in rebuilding of temple? I can bet you most of non-Hindus who participated from local communities were Christians, Buddhists or Jews or even indigenous Indians of Canada.
Islam is a religion of Muslims, not peas.
It really was very bad to hear about this incident. However, it still was good to hear of the prosecution of the rioters. May they be punished severely for their act. SHO Jaffar Baloch said, “For me, every believer is the same. The desecration of a temple meant blasphemy to me, and that’s why we inserted that section.”
breaking statues- looks familiar.Where did I hear it?
I am sure nothing will come out of these charges.
Sept 30th COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh: Hundreds of Muslims in Bangladesh burned at least four Buddhist temples and 15 homes of Buddhists on Sunday after complaining that a Buddhist man had insulted Islam, police and residents said.
Members of the Buddhist minority in the Cox's Bazar area in the southeast of the country said unidentified people were bent on upsetting peaceful relations between Muslims and Buddhists.
Few days after 9/11 a Hindu temple in Hamilton Ontario Canada was fire bombed by a local white boy as he mistook Hindu temple as a Mosque. His attacked was motivated by rage from 9/11. Local community rallied, raised fund and rebuild the temple. The person was charged and convicted of hate crime. Every year local community gathers on anniversary and share rejoices the harmony in race relations they showed.
Well I just saw BBC and CNN and since this news dont portray Pakistanis and Muslims as Devils so they are in Utter Silence on that News while any other slightest news against Muslims is a Headline there.. This is Hypocrciy and nothing else and Pakistani media should highlight this issue that Why BBA and CNN only give the news when Some Non Muslims are involved otherwise it seems their Sole Purpose to portray all the Muslims are the Real Devils of the world.
Good officer. Now its time for the patriotic judiciary and lawyers to step in and release the accused.
Proof is in the pudding. Lets see if Courts convicts the culprits or tosses out the case for lack of evidence.
Guznavi still lives among us in 2012.
I think I am better ans secure being a atheist rather than being a dumb radical
Nothing is expected from the FIR. no one ever be arrested ( forget the punishment) for destroying the Hindu temple, breaking the idols..and looting Hindu families . it is a brave act of an individual but the society is the same. A church is burnt in Mardan on the same day.Police did not take any action under any law.. The hypocrisy is louder.
Why act now after 60 yrs of state sponsered genocide?
Attackers should be dealt with sternly. In Pakistan, all extremist parties combined have never won more than 3% of vote. Unfortunately this very small minority which do not respect other religions bring a bad name to all Pakistanis.
Now very few people are condemning blasphemy laws. Hypocrisy.
i have all the respect in world for this brave officer.
pakistan requires many such officers
Nothing to be happy about as all culprits are on the run. Truth will come when they are all caught, booked and jailed/hanged. NO one even knows what is happening with the man caught for falsly accusing the Christian girl.
good precedent set by the police
i am deeply saddened upon this news. this is a shameful act. my respect for Hindu community. moreover, i am really pleased to know that their is blasphemy law in pakistan's Constitution in defense of non-islamic religions.
good job Sho..this is called proffesionalism
There is hope for Pakistan
And thats the way it should be. Good job
Way to GO!!!
Such acts should be charged under Hate Crimes, rather than Blasphemy. Blasphemy laws are just wrong, both in India and Pakistan.
Waiting for big hue and cry from media and civil society champions. A new campaign opportunity for many stalwarts of certain quarters.
Mkes one weep for that comunity The surrvival of palistan is in banning mullas only nothing else will work
Hmmmm so much of tolerence !!! for OTHER religion ...
“Had it been a rich Hindu community, the panchayats would have reacted otherwise,” ...... tell me the name and i'll tell you the law ...... as simple as that
Whats good for gander is good for goose.
Justice served, it is no so bad after all!
Why weren't these temples and houses protected in the first place?
This is heartening news. Kudos to the SHO! We need to protect our minorities at all costs-Pakistan is for all of us and the violation of any place of worship is simply unacceptable.
Good move. Appreciated.
same happened in Pakistan during 92-93 also after Babri was brought down in India. yet they keep chest thumping abt Babri, hindus sikhs shias ahmedis get routinely targeted baloch r killed yet the audacity to talk abt Kashmir. Huh!
SHO Jaffar Baloch said, “For me, every believer is the same. The desecration of a temple meant blasphemy to me, and that’s why we inserted that section.”
Hats off Mr. Jafar. You are way better than many preachers, pundits, maulanas put-together. Every believer is same indeed, and nobody has right to call others wrong, or call them names for not sharing your belief.
SHO Jaffar Baloch said,
Kudos to the brave policeman.
The tide has to turn for sure.
This country belongs to Ahmadi Muslims, Shias, Hindus, Christians, Sunnis, Agnostics, Athiests and all those that call it home.
Wrest the control of it from the medieval clergy !
Jeoy SHO Jaffar Baloch... Our Police force needs more ppl like u :)
Tearing up the holy book of the Hindus,now what would have happened if some non muslim had done the same thing to our holy book? There would have been a massacre of Hindus,mass protests,strikes,looting and burning and dharnas and attack on foreign embassies. So,it's okay to attack the worship places of others and to tear the holy books of non muslims but then scream and cry about how bad Amreeka & India treat Muslims.
Why must we always act like savages? What was the thinking behind a mob attack on a Hindu temple? Why are our people so hatefilled towards anyone not a Muslim? When will this barbarism end and when will we end our discrimination and hate towards Non Muslims?