Churches set on Fire in presence of Police in Sukkur: An Exclusive Report by Abbas Kassar
21 Feb 2006
HYDERABAD: Rangers was called in Sukkur city of upper Sindh in Pakistan where tense situation prevailed after angry mob clashed with police hurled stones on police station, its mobile van and set two Churches on fire on Sunday evening. The trouble started earlier on the day when some people reported against a person Saleem Gill accusing him of insulting Muslim holy book Quran. The mob attacked a Church on Queens road and broke its gate with stones and bricks. An school and other buildings were also damaged on Mission road. C section police arrested accused Saleem Gill. The mob forcibly closed the shops and bazars and attacked C section police station demanding that arrested Christian Saleem Gill be handed over to them as they would hang him. Police closed the gates of police station. Saleem Gill is retired bank officer whose daughter Amna and her husband Irfan were said to have embraced Islam few years back. Journalists wanted to talk to Saleem Gill but police did not allow them. Police snatched cameras from 5 press photographers. The people majority of whom belonged to religious parties again attacked Saint Saviors Church located on Muhammed Bin Qasim road and entered into Church with petrol bottles in their hands. They burned the Church
to 80% . Heavy contingencies of police and Rangers with armored personnel carriers (APC) were standing outside Chruch but they did not move to save it.
However 15 minutes after the Church was burnt police on receiving message on phone, started baton charge on the mob who ran away in stampede. The people attacked Saint Mary School and burnt its furniture late night and set Church Saint Mary ablaze. Police did not try to stop the people from burning Churches though large number of police was deployed outside St.Mary School.
At time of attack the police left the gate of Church and School and allowed the violent mob to enter into Church to burn it at freedom. Police played hide seek with mob on areas other than Churches and arrested 40 persons. It was learnt that one Allah Wassayo Indher a worker of a religious party had field case with C section police Sukkur in which he has alleged that Irfan son of Mukhtar has insulted the Mulsim Holy Book. It was said that Irfan has embraced 8 years back and was angry with his father in law Saleem Gill and to take revenge from him had tore the pages of Holy Book in home of Saleem Gill. Later police also arrested Irfan who was interrogated in police station by some religious persons. After the mob attacked police station for taking custody of Irfan police took
him in APC to unknown place yet police did not releaseSaleem Gill and his son Shamshad.