An elderly Hindu man was badly beaten by a police constable in Pakistan for reportedly eating and selling food items during Ramadan, the month considered holy by Muslims. The policeman has been arrested following the incident.
The victim, who conflicting reports suggest could be aged anywhere between 82 and 90, was identified as Gokal Das. Pictures of a blood-soaked Das have been circulating on social media demanding justice for the octogenarian.
The Pakistani daily, Dawn, reported that the policeman Ali Hassan has been taken into custody on charges of torturing and injuring Das. Formal complaints have also been filed against Hassan.
"The incident occurred last Thursday (9 June) in Ghotki [in northern Sindh province] where Das was selling Iftaari items before Iftaar and Hussain claimed he also saw him eating a banana. The constable showed high-handedness in dealing with the matter and he thrashed the old man who was rescued by citizens," a local official was cited as saying.
A social media campaign, largely by rights groups, has been launched ever since pictures of the injured Das surfaced on the internet. Activists are demanding severe punishment for Hassan in order to show that the Pakistani government is serious about the tackling issues related to minorities in the Muslim-majority nation.
Minority communities such as Hindus and Christians have been facing attacks in recent years in Pakistan, despite the government's efforts to reach out to them.