Hyderabad blasphemy accused declared ‘mentally unstable’

    A medical board has declared that a Muslim man, whose alleged act of desecrating the holy Quran in Hyderabad on August 21 had sparked violent protests by Muslims against the minority Hindu community, is mentally unstable and unfit to stand trial.

    A medical board of Sir CJ Institute of Psychiatry in its medical examination report stated that the accused, Abdullah Surhio, was suffering from ‘chronic psychosis’.

    The board also found comorbidity of substance abuse. “At present, he is incapable to understand the proceeding of the honourable court. He needs indoor psychiatric treatment,” states the medical board’s report.

    The four-member board was headed by Prof Dr Moin Ahmed Ansari and comprised Dr Jamil Junejo, Dr Kazi Humayun Rashid and Dr Syed Kalbe Hyder.

    The suspect was arrested on Aug 29, after the police investigation found that a Hindu sweeper, Ashok Kumar, who was charged with the offence of desecration in the FIR lodged at Cantt police station, was innocent.

    The incident sparked a violent reaction as thousands of people gathered around the Rabi Centre, the apartment building where a burnt copy of the holy book was found.

    The mob tried to storm the building to attack the Hindu family but the police and rangers stopped them. A week later it emerged that a young man belonging to a Muslim family had actually desecrated the holy Quran.

    Videos of the protest showed several hundred people gathering outside the building in the Chandni mobile market in Hyderabad’s Saddar area after some locals found a desecrated copy of the holy book and raised a hue and cry over the alleged blasphemy.

    The protesters shouted religious slogans and demanded action against the perpetrators of the alleged blasphemy. The videos also showed a large number of protesters trying to enter the building, which is home to at least 18 Hindu families.

    Police and paramilitary Rangers were deployed to disperse the angry mob, but as the situation worsened, the security personnel used tear gas and baton charge to restore order. Clashes between the protesters and law enforcers continued till sunset.


    According to a research, at least 89 persons were killed in 1,415 accusations and cases of blasphemy since modern Pakistan was formed in 1947.

    The Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in a report stated that from 1947 to 2021, 18 women and 71 men were extra-judicially killed over blasphemy accusations. The allegations were made against 107 women and 1,308 men. Out of the total, 1,287 persons were accused of committing blasphemy from 2011-21.

    “The actual number is believed to be higher because not all blasphemy cases get reported in the press,” the report said, adding that more than 70 per cent of the accused were reported from Punjab. The data showed that 55 cases were filed in the Islamabad Capital Territory, which was more than the cases of blasphemy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Kashmir put together.

    Moreover, 1,098 cases were reported from Punjab followed by 177 from Sindh, 33 from KP, 12 from Balochistan, and 11 from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

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