In a recent event that took in Pakistan, a protest broke out in the town of Ghotki in southeast Pakistan where the Muslim protestors can be seen vandalizing Hindu temple and damaging building of a Hindu Community owned. This has been sought as a consequence of a false allegation by a Muslim community student on his School’s Hindu community Principal for an act of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.
The event occurred on 15th September 2019, when a video went viral of some Muslim community people could be seen vandalizing a Hindu temple and damaging the premises and furniture of a school building. As per the reports, the Muslim people are the protestors who are reacting to an alleged incident of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad by a member of the Hindu community.
Blasphemy refers to the act of insulting or disrespecting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, sacred objects, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable. Many religions consider blasphemy as a religious crime. Further, many countries around the world have strict laws against blasphemy and those who promote or practice it. Pakistan is a nation with the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.
A small town Ghotki situated in southeast Pakistan, some protestors of Muslim community outraged after an act of blasphemy was reported by a Muslim community boy Muhammad Ihtisham, who is the student of Sindh Public School, against the principal of the school Notan Lal.
Notan Lal is a member of the Hindu community residing in the area and the owner & the principal of the Sindh Public School. He was accused of saying blasphemous remarks about Prophet Muhammad to his one of school’s student Muhammad Ihtisham.
As a result, Ihtisam’s along with his father, Abdul Aziz Rajput, lodged an FIR in the area police station. The police registered a complaint against Notan Lal for the act of Blasphemy under Article 295(c) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The article deals with “derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet”.
However, as being reported by some sources, the student Ihtisham later admitted of exaggerating the blasphemy accusation on his principal. The Principal had scolded Ihtisham on some school-related matter. However, the scolding affected the student in a manner that he was outraged with the principal Notan Lal for scolding him. Ihtisam went on to ask Notan Lan for forgiveness.
Although after the FIR lodged by the student, the matter spread like wildfire in the area. People from Muslim community turned protestors and came on to streets to show their agitation. They even vandalized the school involved in the matter and a Hindu temple in the area.
The local Hindu community decided not to react to the matter and remained indoors. Many videos surfaced on social media where protestors could be seen chanting slogans with stick-wielded in their hands.
As shared by a journalist from Pakistan Bilal Farooqi, the videos soon went viral on social media and the matter agitated sentiments of Hindu people from around the world. The Hindu Community uproared over the temple vandalizing act. People are demanding immediate arrest of the culprits and strict actions to be followed.
As soon as the video went viral, people started showing concern about the incident and shared their views on twitter.
Some people even asked the Inspector General of Police of the region to throw light on the incident.
After the incident came to the limelight of general as well as social media, Inspector General of Police, Sukkur Region assured the people about how they are dealing with the situation.
Many people have been accusing a local religious leader Pir Abdul Haq alias Mian Mithu of the incident and there have been serious allegations. Main Mithu is widely accused of being involved in forced conversion of Hindu women in Sindh. The women are forced to convert their religion and adopt Islam. However, as explained by Police, Main Mithu was not in town on the day of the incident and they further excused that his son was part of the peace committee that met with the Hindu community later in the day.
Human Right Activist from Pakistan Kapil Dev Tweeted:
It is great to see how some sensible people from the Muslim community of Pakistan came forward to support the Hindu community and demanded arrest of Main Mithoo & others who partook in the vandalizing act.
Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission also condemned the incident and asked the authorities to take immediate actions and bring law and order in the area.
Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Member of the National Assembly helped to keep the accused Notan Lal safe during the incident. He is also the head of Pakistan Hindu Council and managed to get Lal shifted to an undisclosed location to keep him safe from the mobs. Lal was later handed over to the police for investigation as per the procedure.
It is flabbergasting to know that people from the local Muslim community in Ghotki came forward to support & defend the Hindu community. Some of the Muslim elders even stayed up the whole night and stayed in temples to save Hindus. Further, they helped the police maintain peace.