Police in Pakistan have arrested dozens of people from the northern Punjab province after a Muslim mob attacked churches and homes belonging to minority Christians over the alleged desecration of the Quran by a Christian man.
Authorities deployed paramilitary troops to restore order in the city of Jaranwala in the Faisalabad district, officials said on Thursday.
There were no casualties as Christians living in the area moved to safer places along with their families.
Christians slowly returned to their homes on Thursday, only to see the destruction of at least one church that was burned down. Four other churches were also damaged. Two dozen homes were torched or badly damaged during the riots.
Muslims in eastern Pakistan went on a rampage on Wednesday over allegations that a Christian man had desecrated the Quran, demolishing the man’s house before attacking the other properties.
In one of the country’s worst cases of religious violence, a mob in 2009 burned an estimated 60 homes and killed six Christians in the district of Gojra in Punjab, after accusing them of insulting Islam.
Wednesday’s attack drew nationwide condemnation from leaders and the main political parties. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said he was “gutted” by the images coming out of Faisalabad.