Lynched by the crowd

Lynched by the crowd


Following suicide attacks on two churches in Lahore, local residents beat and burnt to death two men they suspected of involvement, a police official said.

Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the past decade. Many Christians accuse the government of doing little to protect them, saying politicians are quick to offer condolences after an attack but slow to take any concrete steps to improve security.

. LAHORE, Pakistan. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

Anger at the lack of security for Christians in the majority-Muslim country escalated after the newest attacks, which killed at least 16 people and wounded nearly 80 during services on Sunday.

The blasts occurred minutes apart in a majority Christian suburb of the eastern city. Police said they targeted two churches, one Catholic and one Protestant, that are very close to each other.

"People started gathering wood from a nearby shop and set the men ablaze."
Mohsin Raza, Reuters Photographer

I shot these pictures while covering the aftermath of suicide bombings outside two churches on the outskirts of Lahore.

I was at home and suddenly my phone rang –it was a friend saying a loud explosion had been heard near a church in my area. People were shouting around him and his voice sounded panicky. I realised that it was a Christian area and possibly a suicide attack.

Upon my arrival on the site, I saw people running everywhere in panic. Suddenly I noticed a mob of young people shouting and beating a man whom they suspected was behind the attacks. The man was nearly dead, and the anger was peaking. ‘Get him, hang him on a pole,’ the crowd shouted.

Then another group came along, pulling another man and shouting for both to be burned. The next moment, people started gathering wood from a nearby shop and set the men ablaze.

My biggest challenge was passing through the furious crowd. They were very emotional and angry after the attacks on their churches. Police was present on the spot but as they were quite few in numbers they stepped back and did not take any action at all.

I was also very grieved covering the women and men searching for their loved ones after the explosion. Mothers and sisters were crying out with extreme pain for their sons and brothers. It was really a heartbreaking incident to cover.

While shooting pictures of the two men in flames, it was very painful but I looked intently around me. I was shocked that people were holding their mobile phones, shooting pictures and videos of the helpless men.

I think the brutality and senseless violence shown towards a fellow human being is what makes these images powerful.

. LAHORE, Pakistan. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

Enraged residents burn men they suspect of being involved in the bomb attacks after lynching them.