International Christian Concern
“It was an inhumane thing they did,” Fr. Francis said. “The scene of the bomb blasts, with all the blood and body parts drove the people mad.”
The murder of the two Muslims dominated both national and international headlines, overshadowing the bombing of the two churches. It also initiated a campaign of terror led by police. Mass arrests of Christian men followed in the days after the bombings. As many as 111 Christian men were rounded up by police in Youhanabad, in many cases only on the basis of being male and a Christian.
Reports of torture in police custody and rumors of reprisal attacks by the Muslim community quickly spread through the Christian community, prompting many families to abandon their homes and leave Youhanabad.
“Many were scared they would be next to be grabbed, so they left,” Fr. Francis said. “Many didn’t even know their relatives had been arrested. They just went missing. The families came to church leaders to report their missing relatives, and then we asked the police officials to confirm whether or not they had them.”
Since then, many of the Christians arrested have either been released or charged with participating in the murder of the two Muslims. Many of the Christian prisoners are still scared of the police and remain unwilling to give testimony about the torture they endured in police custody.