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  • » 04/28/2008, 00.00


    Killed for “blasphemy”, now his family is at risk

    Qaiser Felix

    The sister of Jagdeesh Kumar, a 22-year-old Hindu man killed by his co-workers who accused him of blasphemy, wants a real investigation by the government which arrested the murderers without charging them with murder. Marginalised, the family wants justice. The Church makes an appeal.

    Karachi (AsiaNews) – Unless justice comes back to Pakistan it will impossible for a non Muslim to survive, said Rameshri Kumar, the older sister of Jagdeesh Kumar, a 22-year-old factory worker killed by his co-workers after being accused of blasphemy. Her outburst came in a long interview with the daily newspaper Dawn which describes the manner in which the young man met his death and the current situation of his family “hated by everyone because of false charges that have cause already a lot of sorrow.”

    Sentenced to death by his fellow workers, Jagdeesh was beaten for almost half an hour on 8 April by the Muslims working in the leather factory where he worked.

    Accused of defiling the name of the prophet the young man’s fellow workers arbitrarily enforced the infamous anti-blasphemy law that exists in the country which imposes the death penalty on anyone desecrating Islam or Muhammad.

    Jagdeesh is the first Hindu to die as a result of the law.

    The three workers who carried out the beating were arrested, charged not with murder but with “failure to inform the police that blasphemy was underway.”

    “We have reason to believe that there is a cover-up,” said Ratan Kumar, a councillor from the Karachi district where the murder took place. For him that police are covering up the situation. “It’s a case of murder, not blasphemy,” he added.

    Meanwhile the Kumar family is in danger. Popular attitudes towards the families of blasphemers tend towards marginalising them. Their very lives are at risk.

    For another sister of the dead man, Sundri, such a situation would be impossible in the rest of the world. Her family wants neither “ compensation, nor any financial support. We need justice, which would definitely remove such an allegation from our community,” she said.

    The Catholic Church asked the new government to intervene giving a “signal of change” compared to the previous administration.

    “We condemn the killing of Jagdesh Kumar and demand a prompt and fair inquiry into this incident,” said the Catholic Church’s National Commission for Justice and Peace in a press release. For the Church such violations of minority rights are no longer tolerable.

    Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim country. Hindus make up 1.6 per cent of the population; Catholics are around 2.2 per cent.

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    See also

    09/04/2008 PAKISTAN
    Mgr Saldanha slams murder of Hindu, killed for alleged blasphemy
    Jagdeesh Kumar was a young Hindu man who was killed by his Muslim co-workers. Like in cases involving Christian victims, blasphemy charges such as these conceal the persistent violation of religious minority rights.

    05/06/2008 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Church urges government to uphold the constitution against extremism
    In a press statement issued by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, Church leaders call on the government to amend the constitution to fight discrimination and religious intolerance. They also express support for the judges sacked by Musharraf.

    16/02/2006 PAKISTAN
    Religious intolerance is taught every day, says Church in Pakistan

    The National Commission for Justice and Peace calls the Muhammad cartoons published by a Danish paper a provocation but says that intolerance is part of Pakistan's language of politics, mass media and school textbooks, hence the need to develop a culture of peace. More protests occur in Karachi today.

    15/02/2017 15:41:00 PAKISTAN
    Commission for Justice and Peace condemns Lahore attack

    Top Commission officials issue a joint statement. The suicide attack killed 13 people, including two policemen. A prayer and candlelight vigil was held at the cathedral. The NCJP calls on the government to enforce the National Action Plan against terrorism and provide security forces with the right equipment.

    22/06/2005 PAKISTAN
    Justice and Peace in defence of farmers on the Indo-Pakistan border

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