Saturday June 15, 2024

Situation in Sargodha 'under control' after alleged blasphemy incident

Police say only one man injured in incident took place in Mujahid Colony area; investigation underway

By Malik Asghar
May 25, 2024
Violent mob gathers outside residence of man accused of committing blasphemy Punjabs Sarodha district on May 25, 2024. — Screengrab/Reporter
Violent mob gathers outside residence of man accused of committing blasphemy Punjab's Sarodha district on May 25, 2024. — Screengrab/Reporter

SARGODHA: Police in Punjab's Sargodha district said Saturday that at least 25 people were arrested after a violent mob attacked the home of a Christian family accused of committing blasphemy.

According to Geo News, the situation turned violent when enraged people attacked the man's house in the Mujahid Colony area, damaging his belongings and torching a shoe factory established within it. They also burnt tyres and damaged electricity installations in the area.

Upon receiving the information, a heavy contingent of police surrounded the area and shifted the accused and his family to an undisclosed location after rescuing them.

District Police Officer (DPO) Asad Aijaz and Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sharik Kamal Siddiqui were also present in the area to control the situation.

Police also resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the mob and arrested at least 25 people allegedly involved in the riots.

According to police officials, the situation had been brought under control and no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands.

RPO Siddiqui said after completing the investigation into the blasphemy incident, legal action would be initiated against those found guilty of committing blasphemy.

In a statement, Sargodha Division Commissioner Muhammad Ajmal Bhatti pledged that those involved in the incident will be brought to justice after holding a transparent inquiry into the incident.

However, he also confirmed that no loss of lives occurred in the incident and urged the citizens not to pay heed to “rumours” circulating on social media regarding the incident.

“Only one person sustained injuries in the incident,” the commissioner said, adding that he was in stable condition and would be discharged from the hospital soon.

The Punjab home secretary said violence against anyone under the guise of religion would not be tolerated and added that action would be taken against the accused after the completion of an inquiry.

Earlier, the RPO had confirmed that the mob also attacked the police party with stones, but they were later dispersed.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed concerns over the situation in Sargodha and urged the Punjab Police and district administration to restore calm in the area and bring perpetrators to justice immediately.

Later, the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) took suo motu notice of the and has sought a report from DPO Sargodha, besides impressing upon the provincial government to ensure the protection of the Christian community at Sargodha and elsewhere in the province.

In a statement, the commission strongly condemned the violent attacks, saying that such acts totally disregard the sanctity of life and property, terrorise people from minorities, vitiate all norms of justice and encourage complete lawlessness.

It mentioned that the commission expects swift and expeditious action by the law enforcement authorities to arrest and bring the culprits to the book in the minimum possible time so as to deter the recurrence of such heinous incidents.