The police in Pakistan’s Sindh province on Monday said five people were arrested for anti-Hindu violence that broke out in Ghotki district the day before after a Hindu school principal was accused of blasphemy.
The police have registered three FIRs against the rioters for desecrating a temple, damaging the school and blocking roads. The five persons arrested were among the 61 rioters who have been named in the three cases, while 157 accused were being identified, said Sukkur region Additional Inspector General of Police Jamil Ahmed.
The first case is related to the vandalisation of the Sacho Satram Das temple and five shops owned by Hindus, reported The Express Tribune. The second case has been filed against protestors who blocked roads, while the third deals with ransacking and damage done to properties.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people marched in Ghotki in solidarity with the Hindu community. They condemned the desecration of the temple and demanded the arrest of rioters. After the violence, religious leaders, politicians and police officers visited the Sacho Satram Das temple to assure the Hindu community of their full support.
“So pleased to see such an impressive show of solidarity by religious leaders, eminent politicians, local notables and senior police officers who visited the affected temple and consoled and empathised with affected peace loving community,” tweeted Jamil Ahmed. “Legal action is already in process.”
The violence broke out after a student at Sindh Public School accused his principal Notan Lal of insulting Prophet Muhammad. Under Pakistan’s penal code, blasphemy is punishable by death or life imprisonment. Dozens have been killed in the country following blasphemy allegations by mobs.
The protestors registered an FIR against Lal on Saturday night, according to The Express Tribune. The following day no action was reportedly taken by the police and city administration officials even as thousands of supporters of Islamist leader Mian Mithoo held a sit-in on roads and marched towards the school. In the past, Mithoo has been accused of forcing Hindu girls in the region to convert to Islam, according to The Express Tribune. The protest at the school was allegedly led by his elder brother Mian Aslam.
However, Mithoo denied involvement in the incident. “I did not lead the protest,” he told the newspaper. “I was in Ubaro in a meeting. I don’t have any idea. I just heard someone passed comments against our Prophet.”
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