Police arrest five for desecrating Sikh man’s turban in Punjab


Five people appeared in court Tuesday accused of blasphemy after a Sikh man complained they had desecrated his turban during a scuffle over a delayed bus.

Mahindar Paul Singh, 29, went to police after the clash on Sunday during a journey from the city of Faisalabad to Multan.

“Five people in this case have been apprehended,” Chichawatni police investigator Abdul Sattar told a foreign media agency.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty and is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can spark mob violence.

The five, all Muslims, appeared in court for a hearing in Chichawatni Tuesday, police said.

Singh said the clash came after he and other passengers complained when their bus broke down during the journey.

“The staff (of the bus company) misbehaved, pushed me and threw my turban, which is very sacred, away,” he told a foreign news agency.

“They desecrated my religious symbol so I decided to lodge a blasphemy case.”

Rights activists have criticised the country’s blasphemy laws, which they say are often used to carry out personal vendettas against minorities.