Police arrests 11-year-old mentally challenged Christian girl for 'blasphemy' in Pak
Islamabad, Aug 19 (ANI): An 11-year-old mentally challenged Pakistani Christian girl was arrested on blasphemy charges, after being accused of burning pages from the Holy Quran.
Rifta Masih, suffering from Down's Syndrome, was severely beaten up by locals in Mehrabadi village, near Islamabad, for allegedly burning ten pages of the Quran. She was later arrested by the police, reports The Express Tribune.
Rifta was allegedly spotted burning and dumping pages of the Quran into a bin outside her house. Fearing a severe backlash, Rifta's family fled from the area, while locals handed over the young girl and her mother to the local police.
According to sources, people blocked the Kashmir Highway for hours and surrounded the police station. Police initially were reluctant to register a case of blasphemy against the young girl, but eventually succumbed to public pressure.
According to sources, Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Harmony Dr. Paul Bhatti has spoken to lawyers to provide legal aid to Rifta and her family for her immediate release from the juvenile jail, as well as to take legal action against the people who forced the police to register a case.
They added that Bhatti has also taken up the issue with religious scholars of different sects, who will determine whether Rifta's act was deliberate or unintentional, since she is only a child.
Down's Syndrome is a severe genetic disorder that severely affects cognitive and physical growth - and affects a child from birth. Usually, children suffering from it are identifiable from their features. There is no cure for Down's Syndrome. (ANI)