On their way to Friday prayers at their mosque in Lahore, two young Muslims stopped a 14-year-old boy and asked him what religion he belonged to. When he said he was Christian, they beat him up, threw kerosene on him, and set him ablaze.
The boy, known only as Nuaman, suffered burns covering 55% of his body and is now being treated at Meo Hospital in Lahore in Punjab province.
“I told them that I am Christian. They started beating me, when I tried running, both boys started following me through the street and then they threw Kerosene on me and burnt me,” Nuaman said.
“I kept on running when a heap of sand came my way, I lied down on the sand. … [A] few people from the community … [extinguished] fire by putting sand on me. I became unconscious, and they called 1122 Emergency medical helpline and called [for] an ambulance.”
The boy, who lives with his paternal uncle, was coming from a tailor shop when he was assaulted. He stated that he does not know the names of his assailants but can identify their faces.
Friday’s incident followed on the heels of another burning three weeks ago, when seventeen-year-old Sunny Masih, a Christian and resident of Sheikhupura District, was seized by a Muslim mob, beaten and thrown into a flaming kiln. The young man somehow survived the March 20 attack, though he suffered severe burns.
Reports suggest that Friday’s attack could be a result of heightened inter-religious tensions in Pakistan, after Christians lynched two suspected terrorists following the bombing of two churches in the same city.
A Pakistani branch of the Taliban planted and detonated bombs outside two Christian churches in Lahore on March 15 during Sunday morning services. The blasts killed 17 people and wounded another 80.
After the attacks, thousands of Christians erupted in revolt on the streets of Lahore, demanding more protection from the government, which by many accounts had been minimal.
Afterward, police took two suspected terrorists into custody, but they were intercepted by a mob of protesters, who seized the prisoners, beat them to death, and burned them.
After the lynching incident, Muslim hostilities against the Christian minority have increased, reports say. Christians make up roughly 2 percent of Pakistan’s more than 182 million people and have been the targets of increasingly intense violence in recent years.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.