Blasphemy case against 9 Pak men for temple damage

Pak temple damage

In what seems to be a first for Pakistan, a group of Muslim men who damaged a temple and attacked homes of Hindus during a protest in Karachi against an anti-Islam film have been charged under the country's harsh blasphemy law, a media report said on Sunday.

Welcoming the move by the police, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yusuf said she had never heard of a blasphemy case registered against Muslims for damaging a house of worship.

Nine men, including Maulvi Habibur Rehman and his accomplices, have been named in the police complaint regarding the ransacking of the Sri Krishna Bhagwan Mandir in Gulshan-e-Maymar area of Karachi. The temple was vandalised during government-sanctioned protests against the film "Innocence Of Muslims" on September 21.

The men charged by police belong to residential areas near the temple, The Express Tribune reported. They also ransacked some houses and looted jewellery and valuables.

The police registered a case against the men under section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, which covers "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs". They were also charged with looting, vandalism and theft.

Police officer Jaffar Baloch said: "The desecration of a temple meant blasphemy to me and that's why we inserted that section." No one has been arrested so far by police as the accused are on the run.

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