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​Young Boy, Eight, Could Face Death Penalty In Pakistan

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​Young Boy, Eight, Could Face Death Penalty In Pakistan

An eight-year-old boy in Pakistan is facing the death penalty after becoming the youngest person ever to be charged with blasphemy.

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The unnamed Hindu child is being held in protective police custody with his family, who are now in hiding.

According to the Guardian, the boy is accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the library of a madrassa - a religious school - last month.

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Speaking to the outlet from an undisclosed location, a member of the boy's family said: "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."

In response to the child being granted bail, a mob attacked and damaged a Hindu temple in Bhung, a conservative town in the district of Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab, alleging that the boy had committed blasphemy - an act punishable by death in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Credit: PA
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Credit: PA
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Many of the Hindu community in the area have had to flee their homes, while troops were deployed to help quell the unrest.

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, has condemned the attack on Twitter, saying the government promised to restore the temple.

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The Guardian reports that there have been no executions for blasphemy carried out in Pakistan since the death penalty for the crime was introduced back in 1986.

However, suspects are often attacked - and sometimes killed - by angry mobs.

Ramesh Kumar, the head of Pakistan Hindu Council and a lawmaker, told the newspaper: "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."

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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."

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Topics: World News, Death Penalty, News, Pakistan

Jess Hardiman
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