Friday, May 5, 2017

Pakistan: Child killed in riot after police refuse to hand over Hindu who was arrested on blasphemy charges

(Hub) In the Lasbela District of Balochistan, violence flared after a huge rent-a-mob descended on the local police station and demanded the local bobbies hand over Hindu businessman Prakash Kumar who had been arrested on suspicion of sharing a picture containing allegedly blasphemous content on WhatsApp.

After an hours-long protest outside the police station the mob turned violent, with protesters pelting stones at police, after law enforcement officials refused the protesters' demand that police hand over the Mr Kumar to the community so they could administer justice themselves and 'punish' him. The police dispersed the crowd of enraged protesters via the use of  tear gas  and firing their guns in the air, they also took 20 protesters into custody. During the violent melee, a 10-year-old child was killed.

Among countries with a Islamic majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws where punishment for the crime is simply a mandatory death sentence. Currently, about 40 people are on death row or serving life sentences for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Increasingly, however, right-wing vigilantes and mobs have taken the law into their own hands, killing at least 69 people over alleged blasphemy since 1990. Those killed have included people accused of blasphemy, their lawyers, their relatives, judges hearing their cases and members of their communities.