Dead body
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A middle-aged man was stoned to death by a mob for allegedly desecrating the Quran inside a mosque in a remote village in eastern Pakistan.

Police said Sunday that three cops also were injured during the incident, and more than 80 men have been detained, reported the Associated Press.

According to police spokesman Chaudhry Imran, the mosque's custodian said that he saw the man burning the Muslim holy book and told others before informing cops. The man was mentally ill, reported The Guardian. The incident happened Saturday evening in Khanewal district in Punjab province. After being informed, police rushed to the mosque and found the man surrounded by an angry crowd, said Imran.

Officer Mohammad Iqbal and two subordinates tried to take custody of the man, but the mob started throwing stones at them. In the process, Iqbal got seriously injured. The other two officers were slightly injured.

Munawar Gujjar, chief of Tulamba police station, said that he sent reinforcements to the mosque. But by the time they arrived, the mob had already stoned to death the man and hung his body from a tree. Gujjar said that the victim was Mushtaq Ahmed, 41, and lived in a nearby village. He said that the man had been "mentally unstable for the last 15 years and according to his family often went missing from home for days begging and eating whatever he could find." The body was handed to his family, said Gujjar.

He said that investigators were scanning available videos to try to identify the people behind the killing. He shared that police had detained about 80 men, but there were about 300 suspects who took part in the violence.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that his government had “zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands." He added that “mob lynchings will be dealt with full severity of the law."

This is the latest case of blasphemy-related violence in Pakistan. Last December, a Sri Lankan factory manager was beaten to death and set on fire by an angry mob over blasphemy in Sialkot city in Punjab province. In April 2017, a mob killed a university student, Mashal Khan, after he was accused of posting blasphemous content on digital platforms. In 2014, a Christian couple was lynched then burned in a kiln in Punjab after being falsely accused of desecrating the Quran.

Nilushi Dissanayake (2L) the wife of Sri Lankan factory manager who was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob in Pakistan
Nilushi Dissanayake (2L) the wife of Sri Lankan factory manager who was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob in Pakistan, sits with friends and relatives at her residence in Ganemulla near Colombo on December 5, 2021. Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images