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Two Hindu Teenagers shot in communal tension at Pakistan’s Sindh province

Dewan Sateesh Kumar who was 17 years old, succumbed to his injuries while his friend Avinash is in a critical condition

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  • There has been rapid radicalisation and an increase in communal tensions after the entry of groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah
  • After some burnt pages of the Quran were found outside an old mosque, local religious leaders along with several agitated people took the fight to the streets
  • Two Hindu youths who were sitting outside a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo area were shot by some men riding on motorbikes

Sindh, where most of Pakistan’s Hindu minority group lives had been more peaceful than the other provinces of Pakistan until now. There has been rapid radicalisation and an increase in communal tensions after the entry of groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah. After few burnt pages of the Quran were found outside an old mosque near Daharki town on Tuesday, July 26, local religious leaders along with several agitated people took the fight to the streets. Even though the culprit was arrested, the protests continued resulting in shootings that left one Hindu teenager dead and the other in a critical condition.

The shooting took place outside a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo area on Wednesday, July 27. Dewan Sateesh Kumar who was 17 years old, succumbed to his injuries while his friend Avinash is in a critical condition, Dawn.com reported.

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When the desecration of the Holy Quran became known to the public, angry protesters assembled on the National Highway and held a sit-in for five hours, demanding the arrest of the culprit.

Police deployed after the protest. Image Source: Bing News
Police deployed after the protest. Image Source: Bing News

According to the news portal, the police arrested their prime suspect Amar in the Ghotki area of the province, which shares its border with India. on charges of blasphemy. According to the police, Amar is a drug addict suffering from the psychotic disorder. He is said to be living in a mosque after converting to Islam a few months ago.

Shops remained shut and other daily activities remained suspended in Ghotki. Shops owned by Hindus also remained shut.

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Section 295 (B) of the Pakistan Penal Code deals with blasphemy under which over 1,300 people have been accused of blasphemy from 1987 to 2014. The vast majority of the accusations were lodged for desecration of the Quran.

Two Hindu youths who were sitting outside a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo area were shot by some men riding on motorbikes and in the attack, Dewan Sateesh Kumar was killed while Avinash was critically injured.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses

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Pakistan, Religious Freedom
Members and supporters of the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) chant slogans during a protest after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam, in Islamabad, Pakistan. VOA

The United States said Tuesday it has added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom, ramping up pressure over its treatment of minorities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally mandated annual report, meaning the U.S. government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations.

Pompeo a year earlier had placed Pakistan on a special watch list – a step short of the designation – in what had been seen as a U.S. tactic to press Islamabad into reforms.

Human rights advocates have long voiced worry about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Shiites, Ahmadis and Christians.

Sikh, Religious Freedom
A Sikh pilgrim visits the shrine of their spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan. VOA

But the timing of the full designation may be jarring as it comes after Pakistan moved to resolve its most high-profile case, with the Supreme Court in October releasing Asia Bibi – a Christian woman on death row for eight years for blasphemy.

The government recently charged a hardline cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, with terrorism and sedition after he led violent protests against Bibi’s acquittal.

“In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression,” he said.

Nine countries remained for another year on the list of Countries of Particular Concern – China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

pakistan,Sikh, Religious Freedom
Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, center, arrives along with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, second left, brother Atal Yousafzai, left, and the principal of all-boys Swat Cadet College Guli Bagh, during her hometown visit, March 31, 2018. VOA

The United States removed one country from the list – Uzbekistan– but kept it on the watch list.

Pompeo also put on the watch list Russia, adding another item of contention to the relationship between the two powers.

Also Read: The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the heterodox Christian group known for proselytization.

Also on the watch list was the Comoros, the Indian Ocean archipelago that is almost exclusively Sunni Muslim. (VOA)