In an appalling incident of mob justice, a man was lynched for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran in a village in Dadu district of Sindh on Friday. More alarming is the fact that the unidentified man was burnt to death right in front of the police inside the local police station.
The man was accused of burning copies of the Holy Quran at Memon mosque in Seeta village. According to the prayer leader of the mosque, Usman Memon, the man appeared to be a traveller who stayed at the mosque for a night.
“He offered Isha prayers [on Thursday] and spent the night here. When we [worshippers] came to the mosque for Fajr prayers, we found charred copies of the Holy Quran,” Memon told Sindh Express.
The worshippers suspected the unidentified lodger was responsible for the desecration since he was alone at the mosque. “We handed him over to the Rajo Dero police and lodged an FIR against him,” said Memon.
However, as word spread across the village, residents started gathering at the police station. Once the mob gathered strength, they overpowered the police officials posted at the station and took the accused into custody. Reportedly, they thrashed him before setting him on fire.
“There were more than 200 people against half a dozen policemen,” Ghulam Mustafa Tunio, the newly-appointed station house officer (SHO) of Rajo Dero police told Sindh Express. He added that the police could not identify the accused.
The senior superintendent of police (SSP) Dadu, Usman Ghani, said the 10 policemen present at Rajo Dero police station at the time of incident, including then SHO Baharuddin Keerio, have been suspended.
“We have also arrested around two dozen residents of the village,” he told reporters at the police station. Two separate FIRs have been lodged against the policemen and the village residents, SSP Ghani added.
More than 200 villagers have been booked for murder and obstructing police from duty under Sections 302 and 353 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The 10 policemen have been charged for negligence.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2012.