A Christian accused of blasphemy by fellow Muslim villagers, Muslim-Christian clashes anticipated

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Kasur incident

Accusations of blasphemy against Christians become a routine issue as another case of a Christian accused of committing blasphemy reported from Punjab.

According to details, a Pakistani Christian namely Saleem Masih has been accused of committing blasphemy. Saleem Masih is resident of a village of Kasur District in Punjab province. This case has failed to grab attention of media so far.

It has been learnt that a repercussion from local Muslims of the village as the police has decided not to lodge a case of blasphemy against Saleem Masih because of lack of substantial evidence and mere accusations are not enough to register an FIR containing charges of blasphemy.

According to reports, police received a letter from the fellow villagers of Saleem Masih alleging that Saleem Masih who is a Christian had committed blasphemy and should be punished according to the blasphemy law. The letter read “voices should be raised against this ‘blasphemer.'”

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Police station in the Gali Sardar Akhtarwali in Changa Manga, in Kasur District received the letter on September 16. The villagers had penned down accusations that Saleem Masih had burnt pages of the Bible and of the Quran. The letter contained mention of an eye witness namely Samina Barkat, it was written that Samina had seen Saleem burning pages of the Quran and Bible.

After the letter was carefully inspected by the police, it was decided not to register an FIR against Saleem Masih based on the accusations in the letter. However, after the police had refused to take action against the Christian respondent, there are possibilities that the villagers might take matter in their hands and try to punish Saleem Masih themselves.

Like majority of blasphemy cases against Christians, the entire Christian community residing in the neighbourhood of Saleem Masih was in danger of facing backlash from agitated and zealous Muslims. However, police was able to settle down the dispute between the Muslim and Christian residents of the village before it could bud into a full-scale clash between them.

On the other hand, the local Christians allege that the root of the matter is that the Muslim villagers want to drive them out of the village. The Christian villagers further claimed that the letter was sent to the police with an intention to harass the Christians so they would evacuate their houses and the Muslim villagers could take illegal possession of their houses. Nonetheless, police settled the dispute on temporary basis and there are possibilities that a quarrel may rise at any time.