THESE screengrabs show the wreckage of a police vehicle (left) and the burning Madyan police station in Swat, after it was stormed and set ablaze by a violent lynch mob, on Thursday.
THESE screengrabs show the wreckage of a police vehicle (left) and the burning Madyan police station in Swat, after it was stormed and set ablaze by a violent lynch mob, on Thursday.

SWAT: A mob brutally lynched a man — who had been detained for the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran — inside the Madyan police station on Thursday evening.

The mob then set fire to the suspect’s body, the police station and a police vehicle.

Swat DPO Dr Zahidullah told Dawn that eight people were also injured in the incident.

According to locals, some individuals announced in a market that a man had committed blasphemy, leading others to apprehend him and hand over him to the police. But shortly afterwards, announcements were also made from mosques in Madyan, a known tourist destination in Swat, mobilising the people towards the police station in anger.

According to witnesses, the mob asked police to hand over the suspect to them, and on their refusal, forced their way into the police station. Police officials had to flee to save themselves, while more reinforcements were called in to deal with the tense law and order situation.

“People set fire to the police station, and a police vehicle,” the Swat DPO said, adding that the man was “burnt alive”.

Police officials said the suspect, whose identity was yet to be ascertained, did not belong to Swat and was staying at a local hotel. Media reports suggested that the deceased was a tourist hailing from Sialkot.

The DPO said an investigation was underway to establish the facts.

Videos of the incident circulating on social media made for macabre viewing: some clips showed the Madyan police station on fire, while in other clips, a large crowd can be seen surrounding the motionless body of the deceased before it is doused with fuel and set on fire.

Taking notice of the incident, KP CM Ali Amin Gandapur directed the provincial police chief to submit a report. He also asked the inspector general to to take immediate steps to control the situation that had developed in the wake of the mob attack.

This is the second incident of someone being lynched on the suspicion of blasphemy in recent weeks; a man was killed in Sargodha last month over similar allegations.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2024

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