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SAHIWAL: Chichawatni Civil Judge (magistrate) Tahir Manzoor on Tuesday granted bail to the five accused who were arrested on blasphemy charges on the complaint of a Sikh youth, Mahinder Pall Singh.

Mr Singh in the FIR (169/16) lodged with Chichwatni city police had said six attackers (employees of a transport company) publicly disgraced his turban, considered sacred in Sikh religious code, and humiliated him for making a genuine complaint about a bus that broke down while he was traveling by it from Faisalabad to Multan.

Investigation Officer Abdul Sattar confirmed that bail had been granted to five accused -- bus terminal manager Baqir Ali, Rashid Gujjar, Faiz Alam, Shakeel and Sodagar -- booked on April 30 under sections 295, 506, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Meanwhile, Chichawatni police have failed to arrest Haji Riyasat, one of the main accused and owner of a private bus terminal, three days after the incident.

District Police Officer (DPO) Baqir Raza told Dawn that police were raiding different places to arrest Riyasat.

Mr Singh, talking to Dawn from Multan, said he was informed by the police on Tuesday morning that they were presenting all the five accused in the court, asking him to send his lawyer to Chichwatni.

“How could I send my lawyer (to Chichawatni) in two hours from Multan,” he asked.

Mr Singh said the police booked the accused under the sections which deal with bailable offences and “desecration of a worship place”.

“I am not a worship place but a citizen of Pakistan having Sikh faith and attackers have disgraced one of my religious symbols. So police should have added 295/A which deals with non-bailable offence with maximum penalty of 10-year imprisonment”.

He said that in consultation with his lawyer, he would apply for adding Section 295-A to the FIR and would move court if required. He vowed to fight his case and hoped to get justice.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2016