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Tension grips town over blasphemy rumours

July 17, 2008

HYDERABAD, July 16: Tension gripped Thano Bula Khan — a remote mountainous area between Hyderabad and Karachi — on Tuesday after rumours that a Hindu child in Thano Ahmed Khan town had burnt a copy of the Holy Quran.

People gathered in the town to pressurise police to take action against the child.

Later it was revealed that the child, who works in a grocery shop, had mistakenly given a buyer some goods wrapped in a page from a textbook of Islamiyat which had a Quranic verse on it.

According to reports reaching here, the child was taken to an autaq (guesthouse), stripped and beaten up. Another report, denied by police, said that the boy was paraded naked in the area.

The boy’s father, Maharaj Jaman Das, who holds an important religious position in the community, offered an unconditional apology to the protesters and said his son did not know what was written on the paper.

Police tried to verify the incident but no one in Thano Ahmed Khan could produce the paper which contained the Quranic verse.

Thano Bula Khan SHO Liaquat Baloch told Dawn that no FIR had been lodged as no one had given any evidence that an act of blasphemy had occurred.

“I volunteer to become a complainant in the case if I got evidence to that effect,” he said.