LAHORE: Six more prime suspects were arrested in the case of lynching of a man suspected of blasphemy at a village of Khanewal district on Monday, taking the total number of arrested suspects to 102.
A ‘mentally ill’ man was stoned to death by a mob over alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Jungle Deraywala village near the small town of Tulamba in tehsil Mian Channu on Saturday.
The victim was accused of entering a mosque and setting pages of the Holy Quran on fire. He was captured by two locals. Police were alerted. They reached the spot and took the man into custody.
After hearing about the burning of the Holy Quran, hundreds of other locals approached the mosque. The mob broke the doors of a room, took the man away from the police custody. The mob first hanged the victim with a tree and then hit him with bricks until he died.
A case under murder and terrorism charges was registered against 33 nominated and 200 to 300 unidentified suspects.
On Monday, the police claimed to have arrested six more main suspects and the number reached at 21 out of 33 nominated suspects. The total number of the arrested suspects reached 102.
The suspects arrested on Monday were identified as Sadabahar, Matloob, Rafaqat, Ansar Hussain, Ansar Hussain and Muhammad Shafiq.
The arrested suspects could be seen in the mobile footage provoking the citizens for violence and torturing the victim with sticks and bricks.
A senior police official, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn an inquiry was also initiated against the policemen present when the man was lynched. He said the inquiry would be completed within a couple of days and action would be taken against the negligent policemen.
The Punjab prosecutor general also constituted a two-member investigating team to provide guidance to the joint investigation team (JIT), collect evidence and conduct prosecution before Anti-Terrorism Court Multan. The members of the team are DPPs Arshad Laghari and Muhammad Azam.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali Khan said the police teams were conducting operations to arrest all the suspects involved in the lynching incident. He said an investigation into all aspects of the incident was underway and the suspects would be punished and added that 102 suspects were arrested so far while the process of arresting and identifying more suspects was going on with the help of available footage and evidence.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said those involved in the Mian Channu tragedy deserved exemplary punishment.
In a statement issued on Monday, he said indiscriminate action had been launched against the violators of law. He condemned the incident, saying the suspects would not escape exemplary punishment. He said action would also be taken over police negligence as nobody could be allowed to take the law into their own hands.
Earlier, Khanewal District Police Officer Syed Nadeem Abbas and Aman Committee members visited the house of the deceased and assured the family of providing them with justice.
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2022