Widespread protests erupted in Ghotki district in Pakistan's Sindh province on Sunday after a school principal from the minority Hindu community was booked on charges of alleged blasphemy, according to a Pakisran media reports. The riots broke out after an FIR was filed against the principal of Sindh Public School on the complaint of Abdul Aziz Rajput, a student's father who claimed that the teacher had committed blasphemy.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan shared a video of protesters breaking the infrastructure of the school and expressed concern over the situation.
"Alarming reports of accusations of blasphemy in Ghotki and the outbreak of mob violence," the rights organisation said in a tweet.
Videos of stick-wielding protesters were shared on social media in which they were seen vandalising a Hindu temple and damaging the school where the incident took place, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Activists and journalists took to Twitter to share videos and images of the rioting and appealed to the Sindh government to protect the minority Hindu community, the report said.
Ghotki Senior Superintendent of Police Farrukh Lanjar, while talking to reporters, said that police were controlling the law and order situation in the area.
Sukkur Additional IGP Jamil Ahmed confirmed the worrying developments in a tweet, saying that police were "trying to deal with a serious situation".
"Yes we are trying to deal with a serious situation in a cool, calculated, impartial and professional manner. Moderate and educated sections of society must fully support our earnest efforts to do justice and maintain peace in Ghotki, please," the senior officer said.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is also the head of the Pakistan Hindu Council, said the principal was at an undisclosed location for safety reasons and will be handed over to Hyderabad Deputy Inspector General Naeem Shaikh who will further investigate the matter.
"I have talked to Sindh Inspector General of Police Kaleem Imam who has assured me the police will fully protect the accused, therefore, I am going to hand [the principal] over to police either in Karachi or in Hyderabad today," he was quoted as saying in the report.
Protests were also held in surrounding towns, including Mirpur Mathelo and Adilpur, where demonstrators blocked roads and demanded that the police arrest the school principal.
Rights activist Sattar Zangejo said the Hindu community of the area was forced to remain indoors due to the riots.
Advocate Veerji Kolhi, special assistant to Chief Minister Sindh on Human Rights, told Dawn: "The situation is being handled properly to avoid further damage or riots".
According to reports in the local media, the rioters included supporters of controversial religious leader Pir Abdul Haq alias Mian Mithu, who is accused of involvement in forced conversion of Hindu women in Sindh.
(With PTI inputs)