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Youth convicted of blasphemy

April 27, 2003

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FAISALABAD, April 26: The additional district and sessions judge of Faisalabad awarded on Saturday life imprisonment and Rs50,000 fine to a Christian youth for committing blasphemy.

According to the prosecution, Ranjha Masih was rounded up on May 8, 1998, for throwing to the ground a signboard on which Kalima Tayyaba and Darood Sharif was written.

Ranjha was part of a mob mourning the death of Faisalabad Bishop Dr. John Joseph. The bishop had shot himself in the head in protest against the judgment of a Sahiwal court, sentencing Ayub Masih to death in a blasphemy case.

Ranjha was arrested by the police with the help of youngsters in the presence of Muhammad Ramazan, Muhammad Shoaib, Amir Muneer and many others.

Rail Bazaar police had booked Ranjha under Section 295-C on the complaint of Muhammad Jahanzeb, the son of former mayor of Faisalabad Malik Muhammad Ashraf.

Jahanzeb had alleged that Christian youths pelted stones on Quranic verses written on a signboard at a Railway Road paan shop and also committed blasphemy.

A large number of Christian leaders, newsmen and office-bearers of local religious organizations were present in the court room when the judgment was announced.