Authorities have arrested and formally charged Rocky & Raju with insulting the prophet Muhammad; if convicted, they face the death penalty. And it appears the legal proceedings are moving quickly. In fact, a family member reports that the two brothers have already appeared before a judicial magistrate assigned to handle criminal matters.
As a reminder, Rocky & Raju had been involved in a property dispute with local Muslims prior to the riots. As such, the Christian community believes the brothers have been framed in a sinister plot to usurp their land.
One of our contacts on the ground, Pastor Jay, says over 200 families have been displaced. Some believers are cautiously returning to the charred remnants of their former homes in the city of Jaranwala, to gather what few belongings remain. But Rocky & Raju’s relatives are unable to return to their community, as they still fear for their safety.
In a new development, police have also arrested an illiterate and impoverished Christian man, Ehsaan Shan, for simply sharing a video on social media related to the mob incident. If convicted, Ehsaan, a persecuted believer in Pakistan, faces life in prison.
Given the heightened state of Christian persecution in Pakistan, a local leader named Bishop Daniel says the church is quietly encouraging believers in Jaranwala to be extremely careful with anything discussed in public or via social media.