Pak 'blasphemy' girl's family threatened to be burnt alive

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 12, 2012 06:37 hrs

London: The family of the young Pakistani Christian girl- Rimsha Masih - who faces blasphemy charges, has said their Muslim neighbours threatened to burn them alive inside their home.

Rimsha, 14, was arrested on August 16 after being accused of burning pages of the Quran. She was released on bail on Saturday, but could still face charges.

A cleric who had accused her of committing blasphemy was arrested last week for allegedly planting evidence against her, and desecrating the Quran.

"They (the neighbours) were saying 'We are going to burn you inside the house... then we will burn the homes of the other Christians'," the BBC quoted her parents, as saying.

They said Rimsha was sitting quietly at home when a crowd gathered outside, claiming she had burnt pages from the Quran.

"A woman hit me and slapped my face. People started running into the house to catch my daughter. I was scared they might kill us. We were all crying. My daughter was very upset," Rimsha's mother said, adding that her daughter survived by locking herself in the bathroom.

"A lot of people had gathered...and they were saying: 'We will cut off the hands of the people who burned the Koran.' Rimsha wouldn't come out of the bathroom. Later the police came and took her away," Rimsha's elder sister said.

According to Rimsha's father, who used to earn his living as a house painter, the entire family was at risk.

"Even after we left the area they were saying: 'Bring the girl and the family to us. We want to kill them'...we are worried that we can be attacked and killed any time," Rimsha's father said.

Rimsha's arrest caused an international outcry and complaints from some senior Muslim clerics in Pakistan - a rare show of concern for a blasphemy suspect.

But though Rimsha is out of jail, she may not be out of danger. Her family fears that while they remain in Pakistan, the blasphemy allegation could follow them wherever they go. (ANI)

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