Press Trust of india

Christians protest over desecration of graves in Pakistan's Punjab province

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Lahore, May 19: Members of the Christian community on Sunday protested after police failed to make a breakthrough in a case desecration of graves in a cemetery in Pakistan's Punjab province.

The incident happened on May 12, when over 30 graves in a village in Okara district of Punjab province, about 200 km from Lahore, were found desecrated.

Following the incident, there were reports of tension between Muslim and Christian communities.

After police failed to make any breakthrough in the case, even after six days, the local Christians on Sunday held demonstration outside the Okara police station, demanding action.

Protest ended after District Police Officer (Okara) Athar Ismael assured the protesters that police would soon arrest those involved in the incident.

"Some miscreants could be behind this incident whose sole purpose seems to cause violence," he said, adding that police was investigating the matter

He said recently some influential people from an adjoining village had stopped the Christians from building a church.

According to the priest of the village's St Anthony Church, Father James Bahadur, more than 30 graves were desecrated.

"It is very sad to see that some people attacked our Christian cemetery, they damaged graves. The culprits must be arrested," he said, adding the act of vandalism has spread terror in the village among the Christian community.

"This seems to be the handiwork of extremists who wanted to sow hatred among people of both faiths and to ruin the peace and harmony in the area," he said.

The cemetery in question is more than 100 years old spreading over 6 acres of land. The oldest tomb dates back to 1903. It houses also tombs of the English.

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