• Sunday, September 25, 2022


Boy, 8, becomes youngest Pakistani to face blasphemy charges

People gather outside a Hindu temple that was set on fire by an angry mob in Bhong, Pakistan, on August 4, 2021 in this screen grab from a social media video obtained by REUTERS

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

PAKISTAN’S police took an eight-year-old boy into protective custody after his release from jail earlier this month triggered a mob fury in the country’s Punjab province.

The Hindu boy who had been arrested last month for allegedly urinating in a seminary became the youngest person in the deeply conservative country to face harsh blasphemy charges. The legal action against him stunned rights activists and lawmakers as blasphemy often carries the death penalty, although there has been no instance of execution to date.

His release on bail several days after he was put in jail sparked violence and a Hindu temple was sacked at Bhong town of Rahim Yar Khan district.

His family fled the town in fear after the incident and the vandalism forced the local police to hold the boy in protective custody.

His relatives pleaded that the boy was too young to understand urinating in a seminary would amount to blasphemy.

“We have left our shops and work. The entire community is scared and we fear backlash. We don’t want to return to this area. We don’t see any concrete and meaningful action will be taken against the culprits or to safeguard the minorities living here,” a family member told The Guardian.

Pakistan Hindu Council founder Ramesh Kumar said he was shocked by the blasphemy charges against the eight-year-old and the attack on the temple. More than 100 Hindu families fled the town after the violence, the member of the National Assembly said.

Rights activists said the charges against the boy should be dropped immediately and the family provided protection.

The Supreme Court too took a serious note of the failure of the law enforcement agencies to protect minorities. Prodded by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who said the violence tarnished the country’s image internationally, police arrested more than a dozen suspects and booked some 150 people.

Pakistan’s parliament adopted a resolution condemning the attack on the temple and the provincial government promised to rebuild the religious structure.

Pakistan is home to around 7.5 million Hindus who form the largest religious minority group in the Islamic republic.

Eastern Eye

Related Stories

Eastern Eye


Mrunal Thakur on Dhamaka, experience of working with Kartik Aaryan,…
Nushrratt Bharuccha on Chhorii, pressure of comparison with Lapachhapi, upcoming…
Abhimanyu Dassani on Meenakshi Sundareshwar, how his mom Bhagyashree reacted…