The boy has become the youngest ever person to have been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. Under the Pakistan Penal Code, punishment for blasphemy ranges from a fine to death.
An eight-year-old Hindu boy may face the death penalty after being charged with blasphemy in Pakistan for allegedly urinating inside an Islamic religious school, a madrassa.
While the child has been kept in protective police custody in the eastern part of the country, his family has gone into hiding after a mob attacked a Hindu temple.
The boy was arrested last week on charges of “intentionally urinating on a carpet in the madrassa’s (Islamic religious school) library that housed religious books”, but was later released on bail. Following his release, a mob of Muslim men set ablaze a temple in the Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab Province, demanding the child be punished.
The federal government had to deploy paramilitary troops to get the situation under control.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to condemn the attack.
He wrote: “I have already asked IG Punjab to ensure the arrest of all culprits and take action against any police negligence. The govt will also restore the Mandir (temple)”.
Pakistan’s stringent blasphemy law carries the death penalty for those found guilty of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad.
“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”, the boy’s parents told The Guardian.
In April of this year, the European Parliament adopted a joint motion for a resolution on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, seeking a “more comprehensive approach towards the misuse of the law”.
According to a 2019 report by Human Rights Watch, at least 1,472 people were charged under blasphemy provisions between 1987 and 2016.