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No evidence of Christian girl's blasphemy: Pak police

September 22, 2012 21:38 IST

The Pakistan police on Saturday said they had found no evidence that young Christian girl Rimsha Masih had committed blasphemy by desecrating pages of a religious text.

In a revised chargesheet submitted to the court of District and Sessions Judge Jawad Abbas, police said they had found no evidence against Rimsha, who was recently freed on bail.

No witness had come forward to testify against her, the police said. The chargesheet however said that Khalid Chishti, the imam of the mosque in Rimsha's neighbourhood, was guilty of tampering with materials that were used to accuse her of blasphemy.

The chargesheet said Chishti had added burnt pages from a religious text to a shopping bag that Rimsha had been carrying. The imam was arrested earlier this month after three men testified they had seen him planting the evidence that was used to implicate Rimsha.

However, there was no hearing of the case today as the civil judge handling the matter was on leave. The police only submitted the charge-sheet to Judge Abbas. The police have also accused Malik Ammad, the man who filed the complaint against Rimsha, of hiding facts from investigators.

The police report further said Rimsha is illiterate and her mental development does not correspond with her age, which an official medical board has estimate at 14 years.

After Rimsha was granted bail on September 7, she and her family were moved to a undisclosed location by authorities for security reasons. Her family had earlier said she suffers from Down Syndrome. Rimsha was arrested on August 16 under the harsh blasphemy law, prompting concern from the Vatican and several Western nations.

Rights groups have said the blasphemy law is often used to settle personal scores and persecute minorities. Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the 180 million population are Muslims and such accusations often provoke public fury.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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