ISLAMABAD: An 11-eleven-year old Christian girl was accused of blasphemy and arrested for allegedly burning pages of a Noorani Qaida, a booklet used to learn the basics of the Holy Quran.
Officials of the Ramna Police Station told The Express Tribune that the girl, named Rifta Masih, had burned a Noorani Qaida on August 16 and threw it in garbage after putting it in a plastic bag. Masih belonged to the rural area of Mehrabadi, which is next to the G-11 sector in Islamabad.
Soon after the incident, residents of the area had gathered to lodge their protest. The protesters also allegedly beat up the girl and her mother, while the rest of the girl’s family managed to escape.
The Kashmir Highway was also blocked by the protesters, but they dispersed after the police lodged an FIR of the case and took Rifta into custody.
The girl has been sent to a juvenile jail on judicial remand.
The news emerged when a website called “Christians in Pakistan” reported the incident. The report alleges that Rifta has Down syndrome and was falsely accused of burning 10 pages of the Holy Quran.
The report added that the complaint against the girl was filed by Alsyed Muhammad Ummad.
From our Pakistani colleagues at the World Vision in Progress Foundation:
Blasphemy Laws in Action ; A Christian Girl Ramisha aged 13 years is arrested in Islamabad. Ramisha, resident of Meherabadi (a slum area in G-11 Islamabad ). Local Muslims named Muhammad Amjid complaint in Ramna Police station that she had burn the Quran . Police had registered FIR(First Information report) No. 303/12 under-section 295 B and girl has sent to Adiala Jail. World Vision in Progress Foundation had reached the girl and we hope to provide the legal help to the victims and family .
The next day:
Current Information:We had visited the Meharabadi as well as the local police station situated at G-11 Markaz (PS. Ramna police station). The ground situation is very bad Christians had left their homes and they are hiding in different place whereas the family of Rimsha is also under ground. When we reached there and met with the muslims of the slum area of Islamabad the local Muslims were in great annoyance, and stated that they will burn every Christian of this Area. There were about 2 dozen of Muslim youth standing on the road side. There were clear signs of burning of car-tyres on the main road of Meherabadi .
When we went to the police station after having an appointment with the SHO (Station House officer) of Ramna Police station Mr. Gulam Qasim ,however when we reached there he was unavailable in the station. We went to the desk office of the Police station where two young police officers were sitting in the civilian dress, we had requested them to supply us the copy of the FIR of Rimsha bearing number 303/12 one of them immediately stand from his seat and asked our operation Director Napoleon Qayyum that who are you and whats your association with the girl. Mr. Qayyum stated the she is a daughter of Christian community and we are here to support her. The Police –person stated angrily that she had burnt our Holy Book and you are here to protect her? Then the Executive Director Farrukh intervene and stated that we are only here to get the true facts of the case and we wanted to see the FIR (first information reported) . Almost 30 Minutes we waited for the Copy of FIR however the person who was talking with us in anger were on the mobile phone ,and with few minutes Muslim boys gather out of the police station . Our Driver Ejaz Hussain called us from outside and informed us the situation and advised us to leave the police station at once. Immediately we left the police station through Muslims youth try state arguments with us but we left and came to F-8 session court. We hope to file the petition for Rimsha on next week as from tomorrow their will be Eid holidays in Pakistan.