Police in Pakistan's Sindh province have arrested a shopkeeper who sold shoes with sacred Hindu word 'Om' inscribed on them and seized the offensive footwears following protests by the country's minority community.
"The shopkeeper was arrested and the shoes in question have also been confiscated," said Pakistan Hindu Council patron-in-chief Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.
Vankwani said police have found that the controversial shoes were purchased from a manufacturer in Lahore and Punjab police were being approached for taking action against them.
It is unethical and highly immoral to insult any religion, either of a minority or majority, he said in a statement.
"The state must play the proactive role for punishing the culprits under the blasphemy laws," Vankwani said while talking to a Hindu delegation vising him over the issue.
The PHC had lodged protests with the Sindh government and authorities in Tando Adam Khan area after it was brought to the notice of the Hindu community that shoes were being sold with the sacred word 'Om' inscribed on them.
The PHC patron-in-chief said the sale of these shoes were an insult to the Hindus in Pakistan as it is blasphemous to use the sacred word 'Om' on shoes.
"It is most unfortunate that some shopkeepers in Tando Adam Khan are selling shoes on the occasion of Eid ul Azha with the Hindu sacred word inscribed on them and the purpose just appears to be to insult the sentiments of the Hindu community," Vankwani has said.
"As 'Om' is the sacred religious symbol of Hinduism which talks about the oneness of God, let's protect this oneness peacefully for the progressive and positive face of Pakistan. Let's appeal the authorities concerned to take notice of the matter immediately to override any expected mistrust within the locals," the Pakistan Hindu Seva has said in a separate statement.
Local newspapers have reported that similar shoes were also being sold in some other places of the southern Sindh province, where a majority of the Pakistani Hindus reside.
IMAGE: Picture shows the sandal which is being sold at shops in Tando Adam inscribed with Hindu sacred word 'Om'. Photograph: Pakistan Hindu Council