December 19, 2018

Hindu teenager arrested over ‘blasphemous social media posts’

News Source: Pakistan Today

Mirpurkhas Police on Wednesday booked a teenage Hindu boy for allegedly posting blasphemous content on social media.

The boy was arrested and sent on a 14-day judicial remand after a complaint was filed by a local prayer leader.

He was charged under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

The prayer leader alleged that the suspect had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims by posting ‘highly controversial’ posts on his Facebook account since July 30.

According to media reports, the reason behind these alleged posts could be a result of the frustration felt by the teenager after his teenage sister converted to Islam a few days back.  “Some other members of his family were also expected to convert to Islam,” it was reported.

The punishment for blasphemy in Pakistan ranges from several years in prison to a death sentence. Under existing laws, a person making a false accusation can only face proceedings under Section 182 of the PPC, which entails a maximum punishment of six months, or a mere Rs1,000 fine. However, an amendment had been proposed in the Islamabad High Court which sought the same punishment as under Section 295-C for those who falsely accuse people of blasphemy.

It may be mentioned here that while the state has never executed anyone under blasphemy laws, mere allegations have prompted mob violence and lynchings. Since 1990, vigilantes have been accused of murdering 65 people on mere allegations of blasphemy, according to research compiled by Pakistani thinktank, Centre for Research and Security Studies.

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