LAHORE: Police claimed on Wednesday to have arrested all the nominated suspects [33] involved in lynching a ‘mentally-deranged’ man over alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Khanewal district.

Police also held five other suspects after identifying them through videos of the incident and the total number of the arrested reached 119.

On Saturday, a ‘mentally-ill’ man was stoned to death by a mob over alleged desecration of the Holy Quran at Jungle Dera village.

Tulamba police registered a case under sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly of people), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 302 (intentional murder) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act against 33 identified and around 200-300 unidentified suspects.

The first information report stated that when police officials reached the village, a man accused of burning the Holy Quran was found tied up with ropes and being subjected to violence by a mob.

The suspects killed the man after beating him with rods, sticks and bricks. “The suspects hung his body from a tree which spread immense fear,” the FIR said, adding that the body was recovered after much effort and taken for a postmortem examination.

Khanewal police on the instructions of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and IGP Rao Sardar Ali Khan took immediate action and arrested all the nominated suspects.

A Punjab police spokesperson said raids were being carried out on a daily basis in Mian Channu and Khanewal to arrest the suspects. He said police arrested all the 33 nominated suspects along with five more main suspects whose roles are being determined.

He said the total number of suspects in the main role has reached 38.

Earlier, 31 nominated suspects were remanded in 14-day police custody by an anti-terrorism court in Multan two days ago.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2022

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