Muslim-m Christian clash leaves 9 dead in Pakistan

published on August 8, 2009

9 killed in communal violence in Pakistan’s Punjab province

LAHORE: At least nine persons died on Saturday in police firing and violent clashes between Muslims and the minority Christian community in Pakistan’s Punjab province following the alleged desecration of the holy Quran.

Hundreds of Muslims gathered this morning and marched towards Christian homes at Azafi Abadi village, 160 km from Lahore. Witnesses said at least three persons were killed and some others injured when police fired at a mob that was trying to forcibly enter the homes of Christians.

The bodies of six Christians – three women, two children and a man – were pulled out of houses that were set alight by the mob. Officials said they feared the toll could rise as the rubble of some 70 burnt houses is yet to be cleared.

Eighteen people, including policemen, were injured in the clashes between the two groups. The mob also looted over 100 houses.

Witnesses said at least five persons were injured when the two groups exchanged fire this afternoon. Reports also said two senior police officers were injured in the clashes.

A mob had on Friday burnt over 70 houses of Christians at Azafi Abadi over an alleged incident of desecration of the Quran. Muslims set on fire another 15 houses of Christians on Saturday.

Violence erupted in the area when a group of Muslims alleged that three Christians had burnt pages of the Quran at a wedding ceremony.

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