Pakistan has booked an eight year old Hindu boy under charges of blasphemy, a draconian law that can warrant the death penalty for the accused. He was charged for the crime after he was accused to have urinated on the carpet of a Madarsa.
The boy has been taken into ‘protective custody’ following the incident and he had spent a week in jail before receiving bail. His family have gone into hiding following retribution. A member of the family told The Guardian from an undisclosed location, “He [the boy] is not even aware of such blasphemy issues and he has been falsely indulged in these matters. He still doesn’t understand what his crime was and why he was kept in jail for a week.”
“We have left our shops and work, the entire community is scared and we fear backlash. We don’t want to return to this area. We don’t see any concrete and meaningful action will be taken against the culprits or to safeguard the minorities living here,” the family member added.
The head of the Pakistani Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar, said, “The attack on the temple and blasphemy allegations against the eight-year-old minor boy has really shocked me. More than a hundred homes of the Hindu community have been emptied due to fear of attack.”
Another Hindu activist, Kapil Dev, said, “I demand charges against the boy are immediately dropped, and urge the government to provide security for the family and those forced to flee.” “Attacks on Hindu temples have increased in the last few years showing an escalating level of extremism and fanaticism. The recent attacks seem to be a new wave of persecution of Hindus,” he added.
Temple attacked by radical Islamists in Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab
On Wednesday (August 4), a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Gandesha was attacked by a frenzied mob of Pakistani Muslim men in Bhong city of Rahim Yar Khan district in the province of Punjab. Taking cognisance of the matter, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarian Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani took to Twitter to post videos of the temple attack and urged the law enforcement agencies to stop the “burning and vandalizing” of the temple.
The mob claimed that the attack was in retaliation to the eight year old boy urinating near the Madarsa. The 8-year-old boy was even arrested and booked last week under Pakistan’s brutal blasphemy laws but was subsequently released on bail for being a minor.
Subsequently, an alliance of 22 religious and political parties in Pakistan refused to condemn the attack on the Hindu Temple.