Sikh's turban desecrated in Pakistan, 6 booked under blasphemy law

Lahore: A 29-year-old Sikh man's turban was desecrated during a scuffle at a bus terminal in Pakistan's Punjab Province and six persons have been booked under blasphemy law in connection with the incident, officials said on Monday.

Police have registered an FIR against six people under blasphemy law on the complaint of Mahinder Paal Singh, a resident of Multan district of Punjab.

Singh told police that he was travelling last week from Faisalabad to Multan by a bus owned by Kohistan-Faisal Movers when it developed a fault near Dijkot.

The driver fixed the fault but the bus' speed was very slow and it took five hours to get to Chichawatni bus terminal where he and other passengers complained to the transport company's staff about the slow speed of the bus and demanded an alternative vehicle for the journey to Multan.

"The arguments over the issue led to a scuffle between the company's staff and the passengers. During the fight a bus terminal hawker, Rashid Gujjar, threw my turban on the ground and others manhandled me. Turban is considered sacred in the Sikh religious code and throwing it on the ground is tantamount to desecration," Singh said.

Terminal manager Baqir Ali along with Gujjar, Faiz Alam, Haji Riysat, Shakeel and Snawal have been booked in the case.

"On the complaint of Mahinder Paal Singh we have booked Gujjar and five others under PPC sections 295 (blasphemy), 506 (hurling threats) and 148 and are carrying out raids for their arrests," Khaizer Hayat, Chichawatni city police incharge, told Dawn News.

Singh alleged that some local politicians were backing the suspects and influencing the investigations. He appealed to Punjab Province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to look into the matter and ensure justice is done.

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