One dead in violence after Hindu held over alleged blasphemy

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Observer Report

Quetta

A 13-year-old boy died in aerial firing after an angry mob that had gathered near a bus stop in Hub demanding the police hand over a Hindu man arrested on blasphemy charges clashed with police on Thursday.
Prakash Kumar, 35, was arrested from Hub on Wednesday after locals complained he allegedly sent blasphemous content via WhatsApp, said police.
SSP Lasbela Zia Mandokhel told media the police had lodged a case against the accused while a cellphone, from which the suspect allegedly shared blasphemous content, has been seized. Further, a local court has sent the suspect to jail for further interrogation in the case.
However, the incident caused an outrage among local people who shut down their shops and offices in protest against the accused.
A mob soon gathered outside the Hub city police station demanding that Kumar be handed over to them so they could ‘punish’ him. When law enforcement refused, the crowd turned violent.
DSP Lasbela Jan Mohammad Khosa and other officials were injured as the protesters hurled stones at them during the demonstration.
The police managed to disperse the crowd using tear gas shelling and aerial firing, and also took scores of protesters into custody.
According to SSP Mandokhel, a teenager died in the violence and had been identified as Qudratullah son of Bismillah. The boy was a resident of Pathan Colony and became a victim of aerial firing during the clash which took place near Gaddani bus stop in Hub.
Traffic between Karachi and Hub was disrupted because of the protest.
Mandokhel said the situation is now under control and all the markets that had shut down in the afternoon had reopened and traffic was also running smoothly.
Search operations were underway to arrest those suspected of inciting the mob to violence, police said.
Hub Circle Deputy Sub-Inspector Police Jan Mohammad Khosa as well as Police Constable Mukhtiar Ahmed, and Additional Deputy Commissioner Tariq Javed Mengal were injured in the violence, along with an Edhi rescue official.
Shops owned by members of the Hindu community were shut down and all roads connecting Sindh to Balochistan via Hub were closed for operations until further notice.

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