Muslim mob attacks Christian man over alleged blasphemy, sets house on fire in Pak's Sargodha

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Sargodha, May 25 (IANS) An angry mob seriously injured a Christian man and set his house on fire over an alleged incident of blasphemy in Pakistan's Sargodha on Saturday.

Local sources revealed that the situation turned violent when an enraged mob entered Sargodha's Mujahid Colony, an area which houses many Christian families, broke into a Christian man's house, thrashed him badly and set his belongings on fire.

The mob also torched a shoe factory operating from within the premises besides damaging the entire property. Videos of the incident, which went viral on social media, showed a badly injured man lying on the ground as several people continued to attack him, many using even stones.

The local police, however, said that the situation was brought under control after it dispersed the angry mob and shifted the injured to a nearby hospital.

Police authorities also maintained that they had dispersed the crowd and rescued at least two more families from being attacked by the Muslim mob.

"We have shifted the injured to a hospital and also taken into custody several suspects involved in the incident," said Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal.

"The incident occurred over an incident of alleged desecration," confirmed Sargodha District Police Officer (DPO) Asad Ejaz Malhi.

"When a heavy contingent of police reached the spot, we saw a huge crowd outside some houses. We cleared the area and took out the families safely," added Ejaz.

While the police officials claimed that no one was injured, social media posts on the incident confirmed torture and vandalism caused by the violent mob.

"We have called in a District Peace Committee to evaluate the situation and issue a statement on the matter. District committee includes district administration, religious scholars of Muslim and minority communities," said the DPO.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed serious concerns about the unfolding situation in Sargodha, stating, "Christian community in Gillwala is reportedly at grave risk to their lives at the hands of charged mobs."

The incident has brought back horrific memories of last August when angry mobs attacked Christian churches, and Christian graveyards and rampaged the Christian neighbourhood torching dozens of houses over alleged blasphemy committed by members of the community in Jaranwala.

The human rights lawyers have slammed the Pakistani government for failing to take any serious and sincere action against the perpetrators of the Jaranwala incident and emboldening radicals.

"I strongly condemn the Sardogha incident. I denounce the failure of the State to take any serious and sincere action against the perpetrators of the Jaranwala incident. It has only emboldened those who exploit religious sentiments for their criminal acts," said politician and human rights lawyer Jibran Nasir.