A factory owner and two others were killed along Muridke-Sheikhupura Road when factory workers attacked them for allegedly desecrating the holy Quran, reported a private TV channel on Tuesday.
One private TV channel said the owner and the other two were killed over the factory administration’s failure to pay workers, but another private channel reported the attack was prompted by an allegation that the factory owner – identified only as Najeebullah – had desecrated the holy Quran.
A worker entered Najeebullah’s factory at around 2pm and saw that the owner had taken down an outdated calendar – which had verses from the holy Quran written on it – and put it on a table. The worker then misbehaved with the owner over – what he thought – was “desecration” of the holy Quran. When a guard tried to stop him, he ran out into the working area and started gathering his colleagues, claiming the owner had committed ‘blasphemy’.
When an enraged mob subsequently surrounded Najeebullah, his guard tried to protect him by firing in the air, but the crowd started firing shots at the owner and his guard.
The channel said a large number of workers also attacked the factory administration and beat up several employees. They also blocked the road leading to the factory for three hours and later set the unit on fire.
Heavy police contingents rushed to the factory to bring the situation under control, but the angry mob seized their weapons.
The killings on Tuesday come amid heightened tensions in another part of Punjab. Rioters in Gojra burnt alive at least seven Christians on Saturday over blasphemy allegations.
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