Sell­ing shoes with Hindu sym­bol Shop­keeper charged with blas­phemy

Pakistan Observer - - PAGE -

OUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT TANA ADAM—Sindh Po­lice ar­rested a man un­der blas­phemy laws on Mon­day for sell­ing shoes with a sa­cred Hindu sym­bol, po­lice and Hindu lead­ers said.

The shop­keeper, Ja­han­zaib Khaskhili, was ar­rested in Tando Adam district and the shoes, which car­ried the “Om” sym­bol, were con­fis­cated, said Far­rukh Ali, the district po­lice chief.

Hindu com­mu­nity lead­ers called for the shop­keeper to be pun­ished. “The state must play a proac­tive role in pun­ish­ing the cul­prits un­der the blas­phemy laws,” Ramesh Ku­mar Vankwani, the pa­tron of the Pak­istani Hindu Coun­cil, said in a state­ment.

The blas­phemy laws make it a crime to in­sult any re­li­gion and have spe­cific sec­tions for de­fil­ing the Qu­ran or in­sult­ing the Prophet Muham­mad (pbuh) that carry a life sen­tence and manda­tory death sen­tence, re­spec­tively.

If con­victed, the shop­keeper faces a max­i­mum of 10 years in prison, in ad­di­tion to a pos­si­ble fine. Ali, the po­lice chief, said Khaskhili had co­op­er­ated with au­thor­i­ties and ap­peared not to have in­tended to in­flame re­li­gious sen­ti­ment.

“We will do this ac­cord­ing to law, but prima fa­cie it seems that he did not have any in­ten­tion,” said Ali, adding that po­lice were now in­ves­ti­gat­ing the sup­plier of the shoes, who is based in Pun­jab prov­ince. “The re­spon­si­bil­ity in this case will be with the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally man­u­fac­tured the shoes … they would prob­a­bly have done it in­ten­tion­ally,” he said.

Vankwani had on Sun­day raised con­cerns over some shop­keep­ers of­fer­ing shoes with sa­cred Hindu names in Sindh. “Since the last three years on the occasion of Mus­lim Eid fes­ti­val, some shop­keep­ers in Tando Adam are of­fer­ing shoes on which Hindu re­li­gious holy name ‘Om’ is dis­played,” he said, adding “Its pur­pose is just to in­sult the sen­ti­ments of lo­cal Hin­dus.”

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