21/03/2015 4:28 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Arrests After Afghan Woman Set Ablaze By Mob In Kabul

An Afghan woman was beaten, dragged through the streets, set ablaze, and thrown off a bridge by a mob in Kabul after she was accused of burning the Koran. The government has reportedly arrested nine people in connection with the attack on Thursday, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi, CNN reported.

Tolo news agency in Afghanistan identified the victim as Farkhunda, a 27-year-old mentally ill woman. "Farkhunda was mentally sick for 16 years and was taken to the doctors for many times but all the treatments have been in vain," her father said.

The horrific episode, which unfolded near the Shah-e-Do Shamshera mosque in broad daylight on Thursday, is captured in this video. Hundreds of men can be seen surrounding the woman. Some of them kick the woman while others beat her with sticks. They cheer and shout Allah-o-Akbar. All that is left of her body is charred remains on the banks of the Kabul River, images in news reports showed.

The United Nations have severely condemned the attack.

“The burning of the Quran contradicts the efforts of the United Nations to promote tolerance, intercultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions," said Mark Bowden, the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General in Afghanistan. “However, the brutal murder of this woman is an unspeakably horrendous act that should result in those responsible being prosecuted, to the fullest extent possible, under Afghan law.”

It isn't even clear whether Farkhunda burned pages from the Koran.

The Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs (MoHRA) has found no evidence that this woman burned the Koran, local agency TOLOnews reported. "I personally followed the case but I didn't find any evidence that this woman burned Holy Quran," said Daiul Haq Abid, MoHRA deputy minister. "The burned papers were pieces of a Persian book."

President Ashraf Ghani, who has ordered an investigation into the case, said that while the Koran should be protected, individuals cannot stand in judgment of others. "No-one has the right to take it upon themselves to act as judge and court, nor to commit violence against anyone for any reason," he said in a statement.

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