Sindhi artist Qutub Rind killed for alleged blasphemy, family claims

LAHORE: Family of a Sindhi artist Qutub Rind has claimed that he was killed under “false charges of blasphemy” a few days back in Lahore.

Qutub Rind’s uncle, Gul Beg Rind, told Pakistan Today that Rind, a National College of Art (NCA) graduate, along with his two children came to Lahore on July 17 for an art show.

“Qutub had rented out an apartment and had an altercation with the landlord that day,” he said.

“Later at night, the landlord along with two accomplices came to the house and broke Rind’s arms, legs and then pushed him from the third floor of the building,” he added.

Rind later passed away in the hospital due to severe head injuries, according to a medical report.

A friend of Qutub, Hamid Ali, who had registered an FIR [First Information Report], claimed that the suspects confessed to killing Rind for committing ‘blasphemy’.

“As soon as the police caught the suspects, they confessed but later changed their statements,” he further claimed.

Family and friends have accused officials at the Sanda Police Station of not cooperating and covering up the incident.

“Police have been pressuring us to register a case against only one suspect—the one who had pushed Rind from the roof,” the family alleged.

“They haven’t even arrested the third suspect,” they added.

“Initially, we had registered an FIR against the landlord thinking that the motivation behind the murder might be a dispute over rent but later the suspects confessed and we got to know about the accounts of eye-witnesses,” Rind’s uncle claimed.

However, police have denied the accusations, emphasising that the blasphemy was not the motivation behind the murder.

Express Tribune quoting police officials reported that the claims that the victim was murdered due to allegations for committing blasphemy are not true, and rather it was a dispute on payment of rent.

Talking to Pakistan Today, another friend of Rind said that he was a socio-political thinker and a painter.

“His work was against caste system and tribal wars,” he said.

“He used to offer prayers five times a day,” he added, denying that Rind could’ve ever committed blasphemy.

On April 13, 2017, Mashal Khan, 23, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising of his fellow students riled up by allegations of blasphemy against the young man. As details of the bone-chilling event, including a video recording of the event, were reported, a different picture started to emerge— one that had nothing to do with blasphemy.

It is pertinent to mention here that while the state has never executed anyone under blasphemy laws, mere allegations have prompted mob violence and lynchings.

Since 1990, vigilantes have been accused of murdering 65 people tied to blasphemy, according to research compiled by Pakistani thinktank, Centre for Research and Security Studies.

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