Hundreds of locals, mostly Muslims, went to the roads to express solidarity with the Hindu community on Tuesday in Ghotki.
The protest was organized after a crowd vandalized a temple and a college managed by a Hindu principal convicted of blasphemy and in police custody.
The city’s Muslim population, mostly youth, spent Sunday night in the temple to thwart any further assaults on the refuge-taking Hindu community.
They are still protecting the place of worship from extremists, who in the name of blasphemy are bent on damaging Hindu property.
The rare show of solidarity has also prompted many Pakistani celebrities and members of civil society to share pictures of the Muslims serving and standing with the Hindus inside the temple and expressing solidarity with them.
Abdullah Dayo, Secretary General of Pakistan Youth Forum and a Sindhi peace activist, posted pictures of the rally on Twitter, saying, “Ghotki will never let us down. Today, hundreds of citizens from different walks of life marched in the streets to show their solidarity with the Hindu community by holding white flags. They condemned the acts of harming the holy places of Hindus and demanded their arrest.”
Noted human rights activist of Sindh, Kapil Dev, has also termed the Muslim population’s show of solidarity with the Hindus a ray of hope in the prevailing darkness. This is what Sindh is all about, peace, love and respect for humanity, he said while talking to Gulf News here Tuesday referring to Ghotki Muslims’ gesture of humanity and love for their Hindu brothers and sisters.
“People of Ghokti are giving a hope to their Hindu fellows of the town that they are with them in this time of bigotry and hate. They are peace marchers standing with original inhabitants of Sindh. Kudos,” he said.
Posting two pictures side by side on his Twitter account, Kapil said in a picture 100 of mobsters could be seen vandalising a temple while in the other picture 100 of ‘peace activists’ could be seen guarding the temple.
What happened in Ghotki?
Members of the Muslim community of Ghotki on Saturday protested after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against a principal — who is from the Hindu community — of the Sindh Public School.
The complainant Abdul Aziz Rajput, father of a student, had claimed that the principal had committed blasphemy. The FIR was lodged under Article 295(c) — that pertains to “derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)” — of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Residents of the area in fury over the alleged blasphemy ran amok and using sticks, stones, batons and clubs vandalised a Hindu temple and damaged sacred items and pictures there. They also vandalised the school where the alleged incident took place.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is also the head of the Pakistan Hindu Council, in a statement assured the local community that the case has been handed over to Hyderabad Deputy Inspector General Naeem Shaikh who will further investigate the matter.