A 19-year-old Pakistani Hindu boy, Parachand Kohli, was arrested for allegedly posting blasphemous content on social media based on a complaint by a local imam. The boy’s sister had recently ’embraced’ Islam and ‘married’ a Muslim man.
The police arrested the boy and registered a case against him under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting Its religion or religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the orders of Mirpurkhas Senior Superintendent Police after a local imam Mohammad Anwar Soomro filed a complaint against the boy, as reported in Pakistan Today.
Somroo, in his complaint, alleged that the boy had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims by posting ‘highly controversial’ material on Facebook starting from July 30. Soon after his arrest, the boy was sent on 14-day judicial remand.
It is reported that Parachand was upset after his sister Ganga (now Ayesha) was converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man. Abduction, forced conversion & forced marriage of Hindu and other minority-religion girls is a common occurrence in Pakistan, with hundreds of such cases being reported every year from districts like Tharparkar, Umerkot and Mirpur Khas in Sindh.
Parachand Kolhi, 19-year-old Hindu boy in Mirpurkhas, booked under #blasphemy for allegedly posting blasphemous content on his Facebook. Kolhi was arrested after a complaint was filed by a local imam. His sister Ganga (now Ayesha) had converted to Islam recently. #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/2PrqAcRTga
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) August 2, 2018
A 19 year old Hindu minority teenage arrested over Blasphemy social media post in #Pakistan. People belong to minorities are tortured and suffered because of these laws, which made their lives even more difficult. @AWGoraya @TarekFatah @antonioguterres @BradMAdams @RSF_inter pic.twitter.com/CVF04isWId
— #VoiceOfPakMinority (@VOPM_Official) August 4, 2018
Reputed Pakistani journalists like Najam Sethi believe that over 90% of such girls are either killed or forced into prostitution after a few months of ‘marriage’. A proposed bill against such forced conversions was tabled in November 2016 in the Sindh Assembly, but was stalled due to strong objections by certain Islamist hardliners and is still gathering dust. Even so-called secular parties of Pakistan like PPP pay lip service to minority rights, without any concrete action.
Pakistan Hindu Council has even pleaded Pakistan’s Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the rise in such crimes, but to no avail. Leaders of the Hindu community say that such incidents would be described as social crimes in any civilised society but in Sindh, hate-mongering elements were presenting it [abduction and forced conversion] as a good deed under the garb of religion (Islam).
The draconian blasphemy law of Pakistan has been used time & again to target minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis, Shias and even liberal Sunni Muslims. This law prescribes the death penalty for anyone defiling the name of the prophet of Islam. By some estimates, since 1990, Islamist vigilantes have killed 65 people on mere accusations of blasphemy. And it might come as a shock to many urban yuppies in Bharat, but even the current blue-eyed boy and PM-in-waiting of Pakistan, the charismatic Imran Khan, is a supporter of this medieval blasphemy law.
Unfortunately, the sentiment regarding blasphemy against Islam is not much different in ‘secular’ Bharat, as we saw during the Kamlesh Tiwari episode when large Muslim lynch mobs protested in several cities demanding that Tiwari be handed over to them for sharia-style justice for alleged blasphemy. Muslim mobs often resort to violence over Facebook posts, not waiting for law to take its course.
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