LAHORE: Rejecting some social media reports, Mandi Bahauddin police say no one has tried to attack Christian community in a village close to the town and the situation there is under control.

Tension reportedly surfaced in Chak-144 when some miscreants started spreading rumors around a month ago that a sweeper employed with a health facility in the town had committed blasphemy.

Village elders and local police apparently resolved the issue but a group of people started highlighting the matter on social media, urging ‘influential’ Muslims in particular to come to the rescue of Christian community facing threats from some activists of a religious sect.

A local Christian leader told Dawn that Imran Masih, a sweeper in a health centre in Mandi Bahauddin, attended a marriage ceremony of his Muslim colleague’s daughter and made a video of celebrations on his cell phone in mid April.

He said after some days one of his colleagues asked him to show him the wedding clip. Imran gave him his phone and became engaged in hospital work.

He said after some time he saw his phone in the hands of Iftikhar, supervisor of the health facility, who was playing a YouTube video of a Christian criticizing Muslims in his speech.

He said Iftikhar started gathering other colleagues and claimed that Imran Masih had uploaded blasphemous videos on his phone.

Colleagues thrashed Imran Masih badly, ignoring his pleas that he was not aware who had uploaded the video on his cell phone.

The Christian leader said that the hospital administration rescued Imran and asked the enraged staffers to solve the matter peacefully.

He said that Imran Masih and his supervisor Iftikhar belonged to the same village, Chak-144. He said that Iftikhar (a Muslim) reported the matter to village prayer leader Maulvi Imran who started propagating it in his sermons. The situation forced Masih to leave the village.

The Christian leader said that when Maulvi Imran learnt that Imran Masih had disappeared, he started threatening Christian community living in 26 houses in the village.

District Police Officer Raja Basharat said that some people were spreading rumors on social media that Christian community was being attacked. “The situation there is normal,” he added.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2016

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