Islamabad: A man arrested under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law was burnt to death by a mob after over 1,000 people stormed a police station in a village in Sindh province.
The shocking incident of vigilantism occurred in Sita village of Dadu district on Friday, media reports said on Saturday.
The unidentified man in his thirties was assaulted and burnt to death while several policemen looked on and did nothing to stop the mob, the reports said.
Usman Memon, the prayer leader of a mosque at Sita village, told the media that the man, who was lynched by the mob, was apparently a traveller and had stayed at the mosque for a night.
“He offered Isha prayers (on Thursday) and spent the night here. When (worshippers) came to the mosque for Fajr prayers (on Friday morning), we found charred copies of the Holy Quran,” Memon was quoted as saying.
People suspected the man was responsible for the act since he was alone in the mosque. They handed him over to police and filed an FIR against him. After the village mosques made announcements about the incident, over 1,000 people from Sita village and its surrounding areas attacked the police station at 8 am. The mob overpowered policemen and assaulted the man before setting him on fire at the main chowk in Sita village, located two kilometres from the police station. Senior Superintendent of Police Usman Ghani said 10 policemen present in the police station at the time of incident, including police station chief Baharuddin Keerio, were suspended.
The 10 policemen have been charged with negligence. “There were more than 200 people against half a dozen policemen,” said Ghulam Mustafa Tunio, the new police station chief.
Separately, Ghani told reporters: “We have arrested around two dozen residents of the village.” Two separate FIRs have been filed against policemen and village residents. More than 200 villagers have been booked for murder and obstructing police from performing their duty. The situation in Sita village remained out of control for several hours. It took police reinforcements several hours to reach the area and shift the body of the man to a health centre, where an autopsy was performed. Senior medical officer Mohammad Bux said the body was completely burnt. (PTI)