05/29/2019, 09.22
PAKISTAN
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Sindh Hindu veterinarian accused of blasphemy: his clinic burned down

The vet works in the village of Phuladiyon. One of his clients reported him to the local imam for having "wrapped medicines in pages containing an Islamic text". The victim risks the death penalty.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Hindu veterinary surgeon has been indicted for blasphemy on charges of wrapping medicines in the pages containing verses from the Koran.

The accusation has sparked violent protests in the village where the doctor resides, Phuladiyon, about 40 km away from Mirpurkhas (in the province of Sindh).

The crowd burned down the veterinary clinic and other shops belonging to the Hindu community. As a precaution, the agents took the doctor into custody to save him from the wrath of the mob.

For his part, the veterinarian rejects all the accusations: he claims that he "it is all a mistake" and that he did not realize that the books he used were religious school texts. Now, however, he risks life imprisonment, if not the death penalty, given that the complaint was registered under Articles 295-A and 295-B of the Pakistani Penal Code, more commonly known as "blasphemy laws" , that punishes anyone who insults the prophet Muhammad.

The incidents occurred on May 27th. Saqib Ismail Memon, local police chief, reports that the crowd tried to attack the police station, causing damage to the main gate. Later the agents took those suspected of burning the Hindu man's property into custody.

Phuladiyon is an area inhabited by about 6 thousand people, mostly Hindus, while Pakistan has a Muslim majority. The complaint against the doctor was presented by the local imam Mohammad Ishaq Nohri, on the indication of the man who had received the medicines for his cattle. According to the imam, the veterinarian would have intentionally used pages of Islamic religious texts and blamed him for claiming that he found many torn books in the clinic.

In Pakistan blasphemy is punished with the death penalty and the mere suspicion of offenses to the prophet can trigger the reaction of the most radical Muslims. Analysis shows that since 1990 at least 65 people have been killed by "Koran vigilantes" and many faithful of minorities are in prison awaiting trial. The most famous story is the one that involved Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who spent nine years in prison awaiting a sentence and was released two weeks ago. The Islamic radicals instead wanted her hanged.

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