Over 100 Christian homes burnt over alleged blasphemy in Lahore; more than 100 provoked persons arrested

Over 100 Christian homes burnt over alleged blasphemy in Lahore; more than 100 provoked persons arrested

LAHORE, (SANA): A highly-charged mob burnt more than 100 Christian houses in Badami Bagh area of Lahore on Saturday to “take revenge of the blasphemy” allegedly committed by a Christian two days ago while the police have arrested more than 100 provoked persons.

According to a private TV channel here on Saturday, around 100 houses were burnt by the mob .Angry mobs attacked houses of a minority community in Badami Bagh area of Lahore over allegations of blasphemy.

A senior police officer Javed Khalid said that Badami Bagh Police charged a 26-year old man Sawan Masih with blasphemy and booked him under Section 295-C. He said the accused had been arrested.
Angry protesters set alight dozens of houses of minority people in Lahore.

SSP Operations Sohail Sukhera and the SHO of Badami Bagh were also reportedly injured when the mob pelted a police party with stones.

Police officials called heavy contingents of the force to control the unruly mobs who set on fire several houses in the locality.

Meanwhile, six fire tenders were engaged in firefighting in the area. At least three children with burn injuries were admitted at Mayo hospital. “They have seven percent burns,” the medical superintendent of the hospital said.

Eyewitnesses said that the mob broke into the houses, looted them and burnt the remaining belongings on the roads.

The mob attacked the houses in Joseph Colony in Badami Bagh police precincts in the provincial capital following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man.

Speaking to a private television channel, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the accused man was in police custody.

Rana Sanaullah said that all those involved in the arson would be arrested; adding that Punjab government would try to rehabilitate the affected Christian families.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told the media that he saw no reason for the mob’s violence especially after the person accused of blasphemy had been arrested on Friday. He said that police took timely action to save human lives in Badaam Bagh.

He added that cases have been registered against those responsible for Saturday’s vandalism and that they will be prosecuted. He said all those involved in the arson would be arrested after seeing the video footage.

Rana Sanaullah added that all those whose property had been damaged will be compensated within five days.

Rana Sanaullah said that the people did great injustice who spread havoc, adding that they should not have done such acts.

Tension began when a local Christian was accused of uttering blasphemous remarks against the holy Prophet (PUBH).

Shahi Imran, who had filed the blasphemy FIR, told the media that he was not responsible for the incident and he had left the area when the mob arrived to burn the houses.

He maintained that the accused should be taught a lesson but the other Christian families should not be harmed.

SSP Sukhera, when contacted, denied that the houses were set on fire and said that the police personnel was present in the area.

According to Radio Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the incident and sought a report from authorities.

On Friday, a mob of almost 3,000 people forced the Christian community to flee for their lives, leaving behind their houses and possessions unprotected.

The charged group had gathered around Joseph Colony on Noor Road, led by Shafiq Ahmed, who was in search of the accused Savan, alias Bubby. The mob then attacked Savan’s house, setting it on fire and pelting it with stones. Other houses in the locality – home to about 150 Christian families – were also attacked. Many residents, including women and children, hastily fled to save themselves.
Savan was arrested and shifted to an undisclosed location.

Allama Tahir Ashrafi, Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council said that people should refrain from such acts of violence as the accused had been arrested.

He said that such acts would create wrong impression of the country. Other noted Ulema also condemned the violence and called on the government to provide protection to the Christians.

According to the initial report presented to the chief minister Punjab 140 houses were damaged; meanwhile 70 houses were completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, in reaction to the incident, the spokesman of the Punjab government Senator Pervez Rasheed said on the incident that the concerned police station is responsible for the incident, adding that it is the responsibility of the police to protect the life and property of the people.

Senator Pervez Rasheed said that if any incident happened, the police officials should have brought the incident into the notice of the higher authorities and should have demanded help if needed.

He said that the issue should have been resolved through consultations with the dignitaries of the area. He added if it was not possible then the police should have forcibly stopped the havoc to take place.

He said that Punjab Chief minister has ordered the investigations of the incident, adding that the responsible should be brought to justice.

He said that he came to know the incident through the news of a private TV channel, adding that then he brought the same into the notice of the Chief Minister and the Chief Minister Shahbaz sharif has summoned the Additional IG special branch.

Meanwhile Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan and JI General Secretary Liaquat Baloch strongly condemning the torching of Christian community’s houses by a mob in Badami Bagh Lahore have demanded judicial inquiry into the incident.

According to the statement issued here on Saturday, the JI leaders said that legal action should be taken against the insurgents who took law into their own hands.

They said that country’s constitution and law don’t allow anyone to take law into their own hands.

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