10 more suspects arrested
in Lynching of a man
over blasphemy allegation

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LAHORE: Punjab police rounded up on Tuesday 10 more primary suspects in the case of lynching of a man over blasphemy allegations in a village of Punjab’s Khanewal district last week.

Janaza of victim Mushtaq is being taken to graveyard.

According to a statement issued by the Punjab police spokesperson, the recent arrests have taken the number of total detained suspects in the case to 112, among whom 31 are primary suspects.

The statement said the arrests were made in raids on different locations. Initially, police had arrested 85 suspects, after Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken notice of the incident, and took six more into custody on Monday.

Mian Mohammad Ramzan (centre), the mosque custodian, briefs police officers about the lynching in Tulamba, a small town in Khanewal district.

All the arrested suspects would be presented before an anti-terrorism court in Multan today (Tuesday), the police statement said.

Meanwhile, “the Punjab IGP (inspector general of police) has directed the Multan RPO (regional police officer) and Khanewal DPO (district police officer) to personally monitor the case’s probe,” the statement read.

Victim Mushtaq

The lynching incident had taken place on Saturday in Khanewal’s Jungle Dera village, when a middle-aged man was stoned to death by a mob over alleged desecration of the Holy Quran.

The first information report of the incident, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was registered at Tulamba police station on the complaint of police officer Munawwar Hussain under Sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly of people), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 302 (intentional murder) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The FIR stated that when police officials reached the village, a man accused of burning the Holy Quran was found tied up with ropes and being subjected to violence by a large mob.

The FIR said the police tried to placate the crowd but to no avail, adding that the 33 identified suspects and around 200-300 others eventually killed the man after beating him with rods, sticks and bricks.

“The suspects hung his body from a tree which spread immense fear,” the FIR said, adding that the body was recovered after much effort and taken for a postmortem examination.

The FIR said the police officers were also subjected to violence by the suspects due to which a sub-inspector suffered injuries and required medical treatment.

It was the third mob attack incident related to alleged blasphemy that took place in Punjab in nine weeks. On Dec 3, a mob killed a Sri Lankan citizen and burnt his body. The second lynching took place in Mian Channu just a day ago (on Saturday).