A Hindu sweeper has been arrested for allegedly committing blasphemy in Pakistan’s Hyderabad city. Earlier, an extremist organization had staged a series of protests against the sweeper and accused him of burning a page of a religious book.
According to the report, the extremist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) protested in front of Hindu houses on Sunday over the alleged blasphemy incident, following which the sweeper Ashok Kumar was arrested.
A leader of a Hindu community from Hyderabad told on condition of anonymity that the police arrested Kumar without conducting a proper investigation into the incident. He said the Hindu families living in the building where the incident took place are scared after the TLP protests on Sunday.
According to a senior police official, pages of the Islamic Studies book were allegedly burnt on Friday following which TLP staged protests across Hyderabad demanding registration of a case of blasphemy and arrest of the accused.
Ravi Dawani, a prominent Hindu leader has appealed to the Sindh government to conduct an impartial inquiry into the matter. The TLP had come into the limelight in April last year when it led to violent protests in the country. It forced the government to expel the French ambassador over the issue of blasphemous cartoons published in France.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in November last year bowed down to the extremist organization TLP’s hardliners and allowed it to be removed from the list of banned organizations. The TLP was founded in 2015 and has sparked protests over the years, particularly against alleged insults to the Prophet.
Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan where suspects are often attacked and sometimes lynched by mobs.
In December last year, a Sri Lankan national was lynched and burnt alive by a mob in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy. He was a manager in a factory in Pakistan. There was widespread outrage across the country after this attack. The then Prime Minister Imran Khan called it a day of shame for Pakistan.
Critics have long called for reforms in the bloodthirsty blasphemy law in Pakistan. They say it is often misused by influential members of society and extremists to intimidate religious minorities and pressure opponents into personal disputes.