A mob attacked a church and burnt down houses of Christians over alleged desecration of the Koran in Pakistan’s Punjab province, said a news report on Sunday.
A large number of villagers, armed with bricks, stones and sticks, attacked the church on Saturday and set it on fire near Sambrial village, about 30 km from Sialkot, said the Dawn newspaper.
The violence forced the members of the minority community to flee the village, said the report. All markets in Sambrial and adjoining areas were closed and police patrolled the village to avert further violence.
Local Christian leaders condemned the burning of the church. Emanuel K. Gill, Bishop Samuel Pervaiz and Javaid Silvestre were quoted as saying the situation was alarming and the government had failed to protect minorities and their places of worship. They demanded that those who attacked the church should be arrested.
Senior police officials claimed that the attackers were local people.
Five Christians allegedly snatched the holy book from a 15-year-old and threw it into a drain, the Pakistani daily reported.