Police Initiate Criminal Proceedings Against 34 Nominated, 600 Unidentified Suspects in Jaranwala Tragedy
LAHORE MIRROR — In the aftermath of a recent violent incident in Jaranwala, the police have initiated legal proceedings against 34 identified individuals and have also included 600 unidentified suspects under the age of 18, reported by local media outlet.
According to the media reports, this action has been taken in accordance with sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), as reported by a local media outlet.
It was also reported that out of the 34 named suspects, 29 have been apprehended in connection with the destructive events that took place on Wednesday. The incident involved a mob that vandalized several churches and set numerous houses ablaze in the town of Jaranwala, situated in the industrial district of Faisalabad. These acts of violence followed provocative statements made by clerics in local mosques, inciting the mob to attack the Christian community on allegations of blasphemy.
To quell the violence and restore order, paramilitary forces were dispatched based on a government directive cited by Reuters.
Additionally, the local police have implicated Mufti Mohammad Younis Rizvi, the President of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) Jaranwala, and Syed Asifullah Shah, a leader of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), in the case. This development has stirred discontent among the local population, who expressed their displeasure over these nominations.
In response to the volatile situation, law enforcement agencies, including Rangers and police, secured the area around Cinema Chowk and blocked access points to the Christian locality. The administration declared a local holiday throughout the Tehsil as a precautionary measure. Consequently, most businesses and shops remained closed, and the security presence on the streets was augmented by patrols conducted by law enforcement personnel.
The authorities have increased security measures around the damaged churches and other affected sites. Armed police officers have been stationed in these areas to ensure their protection.
The Punjab government spokesperson issued a statement characterizing the Jaranwala incident as a meticulously planned conspiracy. According to the statement, the incident was triggered by an alleged act of desecration of the Holy Quran by two Christian brothers, Raja Aamer Masih and Raki Masih, in the Christian Basti of the city. The subsequent protest by their sister led to the escalation of tensions, and word of the incident spread throughout the city.
The police undertook several operations and managed to arrest numerous individuals implicated in the violence. During these operations, clashes ensued between law enforcement personnel and the accused, resulting in injuries to SHO Rodala Road Police Station Ghulam Rasool and Constable Mohammad Waqas.