Karachi: Police in Pakistan’s Sindh province on Monday registered three cases against 218 rioters for vandalising properties, including a temple, after a school principal from the minority Hindu community was booked on charges of alleged blasphemy, according to media reports.
Widespread protests erupted in Ghotki district on Sunday after an FIR was filed against the principal of Sindh Public School on the complaint of Abdul Aziz Rajput, a student’s father who claimed that the teacher had committed blasphemy by his anti-Islam remarks.
Following the riots, protesters demanded the police to arrest the principal, who was identified as Notan Mal.
Ghotki police registered three cases against the rioters who had taken to the streets to protest against the alleged incident of blasphemy, Sukkur Additional Inspector General (AIG) Jamil Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
He also said that the protesters vandalised a Hindu temple.
An FIR was filed against 45 people — 22 named and 23 unidentified –under various sections of the the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for injuring or defiling place of worship, intent to insult the religion of any class, punishment for rioting and unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object. Another FIR was lodged against 150 people — 27 named and 123 unidentified persons — for blocking roads.
A third FIR pertaining to rioting and theft was filed against 23 people, including 11 unidentified persons, over reports that protesters had stolen goods from multiple shops in Shahi Bazar.
Police have asked the school administration to file a separate complaint against people who damaged the building and infrastructure, so that a fourth FIR can be registered, the reports said.
AIG Ahmed said the alleged accused, Mal, who is currently in police custody, will be taken to court.
Meanwhile, the situation in Ghotki is under control on Monday and shops owned by Hindus in the area remained closed.
Delegations of political parties visited the Dhaam Mandir, which was vandalised by the mob, and expressed solidarity with the Hindu community.