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Pakistan Police Station Set Ablaze Over Alleged Koran Desecration

Mob Targets Pakistani Police After Alleged Koran Desecration
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Police in northwestern Pakistan say hundreds of people demanding that officers hand over a man accused of burning the Koran have mobbed a police station, setting fire to it and six nearby checkposts.

The angry mob ransacked the police station and vehicles late on November 28 after officers refused to hand over a man who allegedly burnt pages of the Koran, a spokesman for the Charsadda district police told RFE/RL on November 29.

The spokesman, Safi Jan, said the man, whose identity remained unknown, appeared to be a drug addict.

Police said the suspect had been shifted to a safe location.

An RFE/RL correspondent reported that the situation remained tense in Charsadda, where police said around 20 people had been arrested on charges of inciting violence and ransacking the police station and checkpoints.

Police sent reinforcements to the area from the nearby districts of Mardan and Nowshera.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can stir mobs and violence. In some cases, those accused have been gunned down, burned alive, or bludgeoned to death.

Critics say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are unevenly applied and frequently abused to settle personal disputes.

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