Lahore: A mob of thousands burnt a mentally deranged man to death in Pakistan`s Punjab province after accusing him of desecrating the Quran, police officials and witnesses said on Wednesday.
The man, who was a `malang` or hermit, was attacked yesterday at Channigoth in Bahawalpur district, 400 km from Lahore, by a mob of about 2,000 people. The mob also torched two police vans and attempted to set a police station on fire.
According to witnesses and police officials, the man allegedly burnt some pages of the Quran. After the news spread through Channigoth town, a large crowd gathered at the main police station andbegan pressuring officials to register a case against him.
Police took the man into custody and registered a case of blasphemy against him. The crowd outside the police station was joined by some groups that demanded the police should hand over the `malang` to them.
When the police refused to do so, the mob stormed the police station.
Policemen then fired teargas shells but failed to disperse the violent mob. Additional police forces were also called in from Bahawalpur.
By the time the additional police contingents reached Channigoth, the mob had pulled the `malang` out of the lock-up after assaulting eight policemen. After beating up the man, the mob set him on fire outside the police station and killed him, officials and witnesses said.
Regional police chief Ahmed Ishaque Jahangir said the man, who has not been identified, was "insane". Police today registered an FIR in connection with the lynching of the man and the attack on the police station.
Under Pakistan`s controversial blasphemy law, anyone found guilty of insulting the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran can be sentenced to death. Rights activists say the law is often misused to settle personal scores and to persecute members of minority communities.