Mob vandalises Ahmadi place of worship in Sargodha – 19 Apr 2023

Community spokesperson says police were present at the scene but did not interfere

A mob stormed a place of worship belonging to the Ahmadi community in the Sargodha district of Punjab and demolished parts of it on Monday.

According to Amir Mehmood, a spokesperson for the community, local police personnel were present during the incident “but could not control the angry crowd”.

District Police Officer (DPO) Sargodha Faisal Kamran stated that a case was being registered against the attackers after the police received a request about the matter. He added that the police would ensure strict implementation of the law.

The community’s place of worship was built in 1905 in the Ghoghyat village of the Bhera tehsil in Sargodha and no untoward incident had occurred to date.

Local police maintained that during April 16-17 around 11:00 pm, approximately 200 to 250 people arrived outside the place of worship. They stated that some members of the mob had their faces covered and were sloganeering.

A few agitators went to the roof and desecrated parts of the building, including the dome.

The community’s spokesperson lamented that the “saddest thing” was that the place of worship was desecrated in the presence of the police. He said that the worship place was “very old” and the relations between Ahmadis and other local residents had always been exemplary.

He maintained that the community was requesting the police to take legal action against the attackers but feared that their plea would not be heeded and no action would be taken.

Before this incident, Imam Qari Khalilur Rahman of the local mosque in Ghoghyat had informed the police that the children inside the Ahmadi place of worship were being taught the Quran, which they could not legally do.

A spokesperson for the Sargodha district administration said that the matter was a sensitive issue that had already been discussed in the district peace committee meeting.

The committee had unanimously approved the installation of a board outside the place of worship which indicated that the site was an Ahmadi place of worship.

DPO Kamran says that all cases were being examined legally and legal action would be taken against whichever party had violated the law.

He said that the police, understanding the sensitivity of the situation, did not want to do anything that would make the situation tense. He added that a case was being registered against the workers of the religious group that vandalised the Ahmadi place of worship.

“They will be brought under the law and all the attackers will be arrested,” he said.

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