He is the youngest person to ever be charged.
An eight-year-old Hindu boy in Pakistan could be executed after being charged with blasphemy.
He is accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet at a madrassa — an Islamic religious school — were religious books were kept, The Guardian reported.
The boy was released on bail last week, triggering an outraged Muslim mob to attack a Hindu temple (pictured, above); 20 arrests were made after troops were sent in to quell the unrest:
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The boy’s family are now in protective custody having been forced to flee their homes in Punjab.
The child is the youngest ever in the country to be charged with blasphemy, which is punishable by death.
But according to the boy’s family, he doesn’t even know what he has done wrong.
“He is not even aware of such blasphemy issues and he has been falsely indulged in these matters,” one family member told the publication, from an undisclosed location for their protection.
“He still doesn’t understand what his crime was and why he was kept in jail for a week.”
“We have left our shops and work, the entire community is scared and we fear backlash. We don’t want to return to this area. We don’t see any concrete and meaningful action will be taken against the culprits or to safeguard the minorities living here.”
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While nobody has been legally executed since the penalty was introduced in 1986, mobs frequently take it upon themselves to carry out the sentence; more than 75 people were murdered for blasphemy between 1987 and 2017.
Hundreds of other Hindu families have reportedly also been forced to flee the area in fear of reprisal attacks.
“I demand charges against the boy are immediately dropped, and urge the government to provide security for the family and those forced to flee,” human rights activist Kapil Dev told the publication.
“Attacks on Hindu temples have increased in the last few years showing an escalating level of extremism and fanaticism. The recent attacks seem to be a new wave of persecution of Hindus.”
According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, around 80 people are known to be incarcerated in Pakistan on blasphemy charges — half of which face either life in prison or the death penalty.
Human rights groups claim the blasphemy laws are used primarily for persecuting religious minorities.
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