Nine temple attackers charged with blasphemy
KARACHI: Police said on Sunday that they had opened a blasphemy case against nine people who attacked and looted a Hindu temple in Karachi during recent anti-US protests. “A case under the blasphemy law has been registered against nine people for ransacking a Hindu temple and looting gold ornaments from there in Gadap Town neighbourhood on September 21,” local police station chief Jaffar Baloch told AFP. The accused, all men, were at large and police were searching for them, he said. Police said that about 250 Hindu families lived in impoverished Gadap Town, along with other minority communities of Christians and Sikhs.
A Christian girl, Rimsha, spent three weeks on remand in an adult jail after she was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning pages from the holy Quran. Last week a judge in Islamabad ordered police to refer Rimsha’s case to a juvenile court, following a medical report that said she was 14. Her high-profile plight took a dramatic turn when a Muslim cleric who had accused her was arrested for allegedly planting evidence against her and on charges of himself desecrating the holy Quran.
Protests erupted worldwide, sometimes violently, in September over the anti-Islam film and the demonstrations quickly turned against the United States, where the film was said to have been made.
Pakistan, where anti-American feeling is rife, experienced the worst of the violence and on September 21 nationwide rallies mobilised more than 45,000 people, many members of right-wing religious parties. At least 21 people were killed and 229 wounded, mainly in clashes with police.