Imam Arrested in Pakistan for Implicating Christian Girl in Blasphemy Case


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

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A young Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy has to wait until Monday, September 3, 2012, to know whether she will be given bail, after a judge adjourned her case on Saturday, September 1, 2012. The case has focused attention on Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws that can result in prison or even death for insulting Islam. Human rights activists have long criticized the laws that help to persecute non-Muslims and settle personal scores.

On September 2, the arrest of an Imam named Khalid Chishti, in Islamabad, provided a new twist to the blasphemy case involving Rimsha Masih, a minor Christian girl.

The Imam, prayer leader of the Jamia Aminia mosque in the Mehria Jaffar neighborhood of Islamabad, was arrested on Saturday night after a person named Hafiz Muhammad Zubair, recorded a statement against the cleric before a magistrate. Zubair testified that he saw the cleric stuffing pages of the Quran in the bag of the Christian girl and implicated her under the contentious blasphemy law.

Police arrested Chishti based on this statement and produced him before a judicial magistrate, and then remanded in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for 14 days.

Blasphemy accused cleric Imam Khalid Chishti

Blasphemy accused cleric Imam Khalid Chishti

Earlier, Zubair told the media that the incident took place while he and some other men were in ‘aitekaf‘ (seclusion) in the mosque during the holy Islāmic month of Ramzan. He said, “The bag brought to the mosque, had nothing in it. When he (Chishti) was given the bag, he went inside the mosque and pulled out two or three pages and added them to the bag. I told him what he was doing was wrong. He told me that it was evidence against the Christians, and a way to get them removed from the area.”

Zubair said that Malik Hammad, a local, handed the bag with the pages of the Quran over to the police. On August 16, when an angry mob surrounded the police station and demanded that action be taken against the Christian girl the police arrested Rimsha. She is being held at the high-security Adiala Jail, and her judicial remand extended by 14 days last week.Malik Hammad, ourt to take suo motu notice of the incident and take action against those who had really desecrated the Quran. He blamed the Christian girl for the incident.

An official medical board concluded that Rimsha was 14 years of age, and her mental development did not correspond to her age. Last week, Rao Abdul Raheem, the lawyer of Rimsha’s accuser, challenged the findings.

Khalid Chishti in a television interview last week accepted that he had, during a recent sermon, called for the eviction of all Christians from the neighbourhood if they did not stop their prayer services because “Pakistan is an Islāmic country given by Allah.”

The new evidence against the cleric could help defuse the blasphemy case against the Christian girl.

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Day 10 Evening: Abduction of Alex Paul Menon, District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh.


‘B’ indicates the village of Samathanapuram on the map.

When travelling from Tirunelveli to Nagercoil on State Highway 177, about 1.7 km from the town of Panagudi, there is a small village called Samathanapuram. This is the native village of the 32 year old Alex Paul Menon who was appointed as the First Collector of the newly formed Sukma District which was created by carving out the Maoist-infested Dantewada, in the South Bastar Region of the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh.

Alex Paul Menon, Collector of Sukma District, Chhattisgarh.

On Saturday April 21, at about 4:30 pm, cadres of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) abducted Alex Paul Menon. He is being held as a hostage by the insurgents who are demanding the release of 17 jailed cadres, and a halt to “Operation Green Hunt” – the anti-Maoist drive.

The Maoists rebels named B.D. Sharma, former IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer and Professor G. Hargopal of Hyderabad as mediators acceptable to them to negotiate the release of Alex Paul Menon.

The Chhattisgarh government, in turn, has named Suyogya Kumar Mishra, former Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh, and Nirmala Buch, former Union Secretary and Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh as the government representatives.

Mr. B.D. Sharma, and Professor G. Hargopal  met the rebels on Saturday, April 28, in the Tadmetla forest.

They returned on Sunday, April 29, morning from the forest area with a reply from the Maoists, but refused to divulge what transpired during their meeting. The two mediators said: “Collector Menon is safe, we will share our discussion with Maoists only with the government-mediators in Raipur.”

Raman Singh Chief Minister of Chattisgarh

Raman Singh Chief Minister of Chattisgarh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally the form of an agreement between the two mediators named by the Maoists and the mediators of the Chhattisgarh government, at their fourth round of talks, was reached today (Monday April, 30) evening. A two-page agreement was initialed by the mediators in the presence of Principal Secretary (Home) N.K. Aswal. Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters: “I hope Alex Paul Menon will be released within 48 hours.”

To read the breakthrough to ensure the safe return of the 32-year-old collector click on these two links:

  1. Maoists agree to release Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon.
  2. Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon to be released in 48 hours: Maoists’ mediators.
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Day 10: Abduction of Alex Paul Menon, District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh.


Alex Paul Menon, Collector of Sukma District, Chhattisgarh.

The Maoist rebels who abducted Alex Paul Menon, the District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh on April 21, did not allow the two mediators selected by them – B.D. Sharma, former IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer and Professor G. Hargopal of Hyderabad – to meet him.

The two mediators met the rebels on Saturday (yesterday) in the Tadmetla forest. They stayed overnight and briefed the Maoists on their talks with the government elected mediators, Mr. S.K. Mishra, former chief secretary of Chhattisgarh and Ms. Nirmala Buch, former Madhya Pradesh chief secretary.

They returned yesterday (Sunday) morning from the forest area with a reply from the Maoists, but refused to divulge what transpired during their meeting. The two mediators said: “Collector Menon is safe, we will share our discussion with Maoists only with the government-mediators in Raipur.”

“As someone who has served in the Tamil Nadu cadre of the Indian Administrative Service, I feel worse than miserable reading and hearing of Collector Alex Paul Menon’s ordeal. But unlike Alex, who has put his life on the line, I have never had to face personal or physical danger in the course of official duty,” said Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

To read the full text of the statment of Gopalkrishna Gandhi click this link –> “Alex’s bravery is an example to cherish and follow

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Day 9: Abduction of Alex Paul Menon, District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh.


Alex Paul Menon, Collector of Sukma District, Chhattisgarh.

On April 21, Maoists rebels disguised as villagers took Alex Paul Menon, the District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh as hostage at gunpoint from a forested location in Sukma district, some 500 km south of Raipur. When the Collector’s two security guards resisted his abduction, the Maoists shot them dead.

According to Official sources the Maoists have in the meantime upped their demand. They now want the release of 17 jailed cadres, instead of the eight named by them earlier, and a halt to “Operation Green Hunt” – the anti-Maoist drive.

Official sources said the Chhattisgarh government, desperate to ensure the safe release of Alex PaulMenon, has positively responded to the wo demands placed by Maoists.

The two mediators – B.D. Sharma, former IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer and Professor G. Hargopal of Hyderabad met the rebels on Saturday (yesterday) with a message from the Chhattisgarh government. Today (Sunday) morning they came out from the rebels infested area with a reply from the Maoists.

However, the two mediators refused to divulge any details of the Maoists’ reply. They said: “Collector Menon is safe, we will share our discussion with Maoists only with the government-mediators in Raipur.”

Earlier, before visiting the Maoist hideout, Mr. Sharma and Prof. Hargopal had several rounds of closed-door meetings at Raipur’s state guest house with Mr. S.K. Mishra, former chief secretary of Chhattisgarh and Ms. Nirmala Buch, former Madhya Pradesh chief secretary – the two mediators appointed by the government.

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