LAHORE: An angry mob torched an Ahmadi neighbourhood, killing a woman and two girls in a row over blasphemy, police said on Monday.
The incident took place Sunday evening in the low-income Arafat Colony of Gujranwala. “An Ahmadi boy, Aqib Salim, aged 17, who belongs to a lower middle-class family allegedly posted a blasphemous picture on Facebook, which infuriated his Muslim friend Saddam Hussain,” a local police official Salim Akhtar told AFP. He said the pair scuffled on the street, as hundreds of onlookers gathered and began protesting. “A violent mob set fire to five or six houses of the Ahmadi community after they accused the minority members of opening fire on them from the houses.”
Akhtar said a woman and two girls, aged seven and one, were killed due to suffocation and eight others were injured. Another local senior police official confirmed the incident and causalities. The officer, who did not want to be identified, said the police was investigating the charges of blasphemy levelled by the Muslims of the area. Police said the late Sunday violence started with an altercation between young men, one of whom was an Ahmadi accused of posting “objectionable material”. “Later, a crowd of 150 people came to the police station demanding the registration of a blasphemy case against the accused,” said one police officer who declined to be identified.
“As police were negotiating with the crowd, another mob attacked and started burning the houses of Ahmadis.” The youth accused of making the Facebook post had not been injured, he said. Resident Munawar Ahmed, 60, said he drove terrified neighbours to safety as the mob attacked.
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