Police rescue Christian families attacked by mob in Sargodha

Police spokesman claims 25 people arrested after angry mob tortured a Christian man over alleged blasphemy

SARGODHA/LAHORE   -   Police rescued over a dozen members of the Christian community on Saturday after a mob allegedly attacked their houses on blasphemy accusation in Sargodha district. Police claimed that more than 25 people were arrested by Sargodha police soon after the angry mob tortured a person belonging to the Christian community over an alleged desecration incident.

Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sharik Kamal Siddiqui who was present in the area to control the situation told reporters that the crowd also hurled stones and bricks at the police, said Shariq Kamal, the police chief of Sargodha district. At least one house and a small shoe factory was set on fire by protesters who had gathered after neighbours alleged that a copy of the Holy Quran had been desecrated by a minority community member.

The situation turned violent when enraged people attacked the man’s house in the Mujahid Colony area, damaging his belongings and torching a shoe factory established within it. They also burnt tyres and damaged electricity installations in the area.

Upon receiving the information, a heavy contingent of police surrounded the area and shifted the accused and his family to an undisclosed location after rescuing them.

Police also resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the mob and arrested at least 25 people allegedly involved in the riots. According to police officials, the situation had been brought under control and no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands.

RPO Siddiqui said after completing the investigation into the blasphemy incident, legal action would be initiated against those found guilty of committing blasphemy.

In a statement, Sargodha Division Commissioner Muhammad Ajmal Bhatti pledged that those involved in the incident would be brought to justice after holding a transparent inquiry into the incident.

However, he also confirmed that no loss of lives occurred in the incident and urged the citizens not to pay heed to “rumours” circulating on social media regarding the incident.

“Only one person sustained injuries in the incident,” the commissioner said, adding that he was in stable condition and would be discharged from the hospital soon. The Punjab home secretary said violence against anyone under the guise of religion would not be tolerated and added that action would be taken against the accused after the completion of an inquiry. Earlier, the RPO had confirmed that the mob also attacked the police party with stones, but they were later dispersed.

Punjab Police Inspector General Usman Anwar visited the crime scene in Sargodha. Regional Police Officer (RPO) and District Police Officer (DPO) of Sargodha briefed him about the incident and informed about the measures taken to ensure law and order.

The IGP met with officers deputed on security duty and praised the committed dutiful police personnel for putting their lives at risk to save the lives of citizens. Dr Usman Anwar also met with representatives of the District Peace Committee and the Christian community, assured them of full cooperation from the police side. IG Punjab said that the timely response and action of Sargodha police prevented significant damage, the courageous young officers of Sargodha police are a source of pride. IG Punjab further mentioned that the culprits involved in the tragic incident will face strict punishment, and concrete measures are being taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

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