An eight-year-old Pakistani boy is being accused of having committed blasphemy is now facing the death penalty.
He is currently being held in protective police custody with his family who are hiding. According to reports, the little boy is being accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the library of a madrassa—a religious school—last month. One close family member said in a statement:
He [the boy] is not even aware of such blasphemy issues and he has been falsely indulged in these matters. He still doesn't understand what his crime was and why he was kept in jail for a week.
We have left our shops and work, the entire community is scared and we fear backlash. We don't want to return to this area. We don't see any concrete and meaningful action will be taken against the culprits or to safeguard the minorities living here.
Although the boy was ultimately granted bail, a mob attacked and damaged a Hindu temple in Bhung in response to his temporary release. Since, many of the Hindu community in the area have had to run away from their homes, while troops were deployed to contain the uproar. Ramesh Kumar, the head of Pakistan Hindu Council and a lawmaker, said:
The attack on the temple and blasphemy allegations against the eight-year-old minor boy has really shocked me. More than a hundred homes of the Hindu community have been emptied due to fear of attack.
Human rights activist Kapil Dev added:
I demand charges against the boy are immediately dropped, and urge the government to provide security for the family and those forced to flee. Attacks on Hindu temples have increased in the last few years showing an escalating level of extremism and fanaticism. The recent attacks seem to be a new wave of persecution of Hindus.