Kasur—A teenage seminary student and his religious teacher have been accused of blasphemy in Punjab’s Kasur district, police said on Friday, after the student was allegedly caught burning pages of the Holy Quran.
The incident occurred in Marali Ottar village in Kot Radha Kishan, where 16-year-old Muhammad Ali, a student of Qari Mumtaz, burnt some torn pages of the Holy Quran on the orders of his seminary teacher, a duty officer at Kot Radha Kishan police station told media.
The teenager was spotted by residents burning the pages of the holy book, senior police official Miraz Arif Rasheed said. When asked what he was doing, he said his teacher had told him that burning was the correct way to dispose of old copies of the holy book.
An FIR 777/16 was lodged under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against both the suspects on behalf of Muhammad Imtiaz, a resident of the same area.
The Holy Quran’s text is believed by Muslims to be the word of God spoken through the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) directly to mankind. For that reason the words themselves are held sacred, meaning Muslims must dispose of their old copies of the Holy scripture with great respect.
Religious scholars approve of two ways: by wrapping the book carefully in a cloth and burying it in the ground, or placing it in flowing water so the ink is washed away from the pages. Any disrespect to the Quran is punishable with life imprisonment under the country’s blasphemy laws.
Such disrespect could also spark mob violence: an angry mob torched a factory in Punjab in November 2015 after one of its employees was accused of burning pages from the Quran in the boiler.
“Both the student and (teacher) have been booked under the blasphemy law Section 295B, which contains life imprisonment as the only punishment,” Rasheed said.