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By Sheraz Khuram Khan

ASSIST News Service (02/20/06)

SUKKAR , PAKISTAN – Two churches were set to fire during demonstrations against the alleged desecration of Quran in Freek Hill locality of the city on Sunday, Feb 19.

The churches include Saviour’s Church and St. Mary’s Church. The charged demonstrators reportedly ransacked building of a school of the Christian community.

Police used tear gas to overpower the angry protesters. They also shot into the air to disperse the enraged demonstrators. As things worsened Rangers were called in to help police curb violence.

Reports say that one Irfan Gill accused his father-in-law Saleem Gill with whom he had a dispute over property of desecrating Quran apparently to get him arrested on blasphemy charges.

Irfan reportedly told police on Sunday that Saleem Gill’s granddaughter Amna had been reciting Quran when Mr Gill, a Christian, snatched the holy book from her hands and disgraced it.

During initial probe of police the accuser failed to prove blasphemy charges against the alleged blasphemy accused. Police suspect that Irfan himself was involved in the act of desecration.

Allah Wasayo Indhar, the imam (prayer leader) of the Old Sukkur Mosque, lodged an FIR against Irfan on the charge of desecrating the Holy Quran.

The demonstrators most of whom were youth took to streets and demanded that the blasphemy accused be handed over to them.