Violence in Pakistan after Hindu doctor is accused of blasphemy law

Veterinarian Ramesh Kumar was arrested on a complaint by a cleric

Mobs set ablaze shops in Sindh belonging to Hindus after a veterinary doctor from the community allegedly tore pages of a holy book and wrapped medicines in them, according to a report.

The doctor, identified as Ramesh Kumar, was arrested on Monday under the country’s strict blasphemy laws after a local cleric filed a police complaint.

Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting Islam can be sentenced to death.

Shops set on fire
The doctor was taken into custody while angry protesters set fire to a clinic and shops owned by Hindus and burnt tyres on a road in Phuladyon town in Mirpurkhas district in the province, The Express Tribune reported. There were reports that the protesters also looted some shops.

With the situation spiraling out of control, local authorities called in the paramilitary Rangers to deal with mob violence.

Police also registered a case against those engaged in rioting.

“It’s an unfortunate incident. We have taken the doctor into custody and are investigating the incident,” Senior Superintendent of Police Mirpurkhas Javed Baloch said. He said a case has been registered and police have established a picket in the town to deal with any untoward incident.

“The situation is now normal,” he said, adding that the police would take action against those who have ransacked properties of the Hindu community. “We have detained some suspects on charges of damaging properties,” he added.

The Mirpurkhas Deputy Commissioner said the government would compensate those whose properties were damaged during the violence.

A large number of Hindus reside in the interior of Sindh province and in Karachi and the Pakistan Hindu Council has complained in the past of minority community members being targeted under the blasphemy law by people because of personal enmity.

Hindus form the biggest minority community in Muslim-majority Pakistan. _PTI

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