Thousands of residents of Andar district in southern Ghazni province gathered in front of the district centre, on Saturday, to protest against the destruction of a mosque that was set to fire the night before. They demanded swift action from the government and sever punishment to the perpetrators of this act, Paiwandgah Citizen Journalist Mohammad Ibrahim Amiri reported.
Unknown people burnt a mosque along with 18 holy books of Quran in Salihan village of Andar district, late Friday evening. While the government officials have claimed that the Taliban is responsible for this incident, the Taliban has denied their involvement.
Khushal, a resident of the area who participated in the protest, told Paiwandgah Citizen Journalist that the perpetrators insulted the home of Allah and his holy book. “This is not acceptable to us. The government should track whoever did this. Whether it is Taliban or someone else, they must be punished.”
Mawlawi Muhammad Ibrahim, another resident of Andar district, believed that the Taliban are responsible for the incident. “They have burnt the mosque and also set on fire to Quran. Taliban are responsible. The slaves of Pakistan are responsible for this.”
The act has anger the locals who are demanding for capital punishment for the perpetrators. Protesters who were numbered around 2500 chanted the slogans, “Down with Pakistan” “Down with America” “Down with the enemies of Islam”. They asked the government to arrest and hang the attackers to death in front of the people, so that it is a lesson to others.
Muhammad Ibrahim argued that those who insult the Holy Book of Quran are not part of Islam and they can be killed. He added that they must be publicly executed.
On the other hand, Lutfullah Kamran, the district police chief said that Taliban destroyed the mosque because the equipments and carpets in the mosque were paid for by the local police and the government. He informed, “This is third time that Taliban has burnt the mosques in Andar district. They are insulting Islam by the order of their leaders.”
He said that their investigation are still going on and they are searching for the militants who did this. “After they are arrested, we will punish them in public. We will revenge the burning of Quran,” he said.
Meanwhile, Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has rejected the claims and said that the mosque has burnt by the residents. He claimed that two tribes had some differences over this mosque. They were unable to solve the problem by negotiations, and finally burnt the mosque.
Mujahid also added that they will arrest the perpetrators of the incident and will punish them.