Pakistani Hindu beaten to death for blasphemous remarks

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Islamabad, Apr 9 (UNI) A Pakistani Hindu was beaten to death by his co-workers in Karachi for blasphemous remarks allegedly made by him about Prophet Mohammad.

The incident took place in a leather garment factory in Sector 15 of the Korangi Industrial Area, after a discussion about religion became heated, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The deceased was identified as Jagdeesh Kumar, 22, of Mirpurkhas.

''We have been informed that some blasphemous remarks made by Jagdeesh angered other workers,'' said a police officer.

''They kept beating him for almost half an hour and left him only after someone pointed out that he had died. Police reached the place after they were called by someone in the factory,'' the officer added.

He said the atmosphere in and outside the factory was highly charged and it was a tough task for police to take the body out of the factory.

''We have moved the body to the Jinnah Post-graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for an autopsy,'' said SP Farrukh Bashir, adding that no one had been detained for questioning.

''We can take action only after a case is registered and a conclusion is reached on the basis of the autopsy report and investigations,'' he informed.

An official at the hospital said the body bore marks of severe torture, but there was no injury indicating that sticks, bricks and iron rods had been used.

He added that it appeared to be a case of 'intentional murder', rather than of being death in a brawl.

One of the investigators, who met some members of the victim's family after the incident, said they were not ready to accept the reason being given for the killing of Jagdeesh.

''The case must be investigated and his co-workers should be taken into custody and interrogated, because no one can even think of uttering blasphemous remarks against the Prophet in a Muslim society,'' the official quoted a close relative of the victim as saying.

Like police, the family also believed that the murder had nothing to do with religion. It could have been the result of a personal feud.

''Jagdeesh was a simple man who knew little about religion. He had come to Karachi to earn a living and not to indulge in debates over religion,'' Raju, brother-in-law of the victim, said.

''It is easy to kill a member of a minority community and then accuse him of uttering blasphemous remarks. And that it is why there is need for a proper and thorough investigation,'' he added.

''Even if it is a case of blasphemy it should be brought to court,'' said Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, renowned Islamic scholar and chairman of the Ruet Hilal Committee.

''In Pakistan there has been no such case of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by a member of a minority sect, nor we (Muslims) ever did any such thing against other religions,'' he added.

He felt the incident should be investigated in a transparent manner to determine the actual reasons behind the murder and not to allow anyone to take the law into his own hands.

UNI XC RJ DS1523

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