MARDAN/PESHAWAR - A mob beat a student to death at his university campus on Thursday after he was accused of sharing blasphemous content on social media, university and police officials said.

Five other persons also sustained injuries during the violent episode in Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan.

Muhammad Mashal Khan, a student of mass communication, had allegedly committed blasphemy on Wednesday evening at the university canteen. Sources said later the news spread in the whole campus.

Some sources claimed the deceased student was attacked and killed because he, along with a fellow student, was allegedly running Facebook pages to promote Ahmadi religion.

It was unclear exactly what online posting had prompted the blasphemy accusation against Mashal, who hailed from Zaida area of Swabi district and was residing in university hostel.

A group of about 10 students shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack on fellow student Mashal Khan, who was stripped naked and beaten with planks until his skull caved in as other students looked on, video obtained by Reuters showed.

“After severe torture that led to his [Mashal Khan’s] death, the charged students then wanted to burn his body,” said local police chief Mohammad Alam Shinwari said.

One of Khan’s teachers recalled that he was a passionate and critical student. “He was brilliant and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion,” said the teacher.

Sources said several fellow students had vowed to kill Mashal. On Thursday morning hordes of furious students reached the hostel and started beating the victim with sticks, injuring him seriously. Sources added that attackers also shot gun fires, due to which five other students were also injured.

DSP City Ihtiraz Khan and DSP Sheikh Maltoon Haidar Khan along with heavy contingent of police reached the university and began to disperse the angry students. Sources added that DSP Haider Khan also got minor injuries.

Police later started search operation in university premises and vacated all departments and hostels. Police said they had arrested more than 25 students for taking law into their hands, torching properties and vehicles and attacking the police. A first information report (FIR) of the incident was not registered till filing of this report.

However, a heavy contingent of police had been deployed in and around the university while the administration closed the university for indefinite period following the gory incident.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in the country and a capital crime that has hundreds languishing on death row. Sometimes even an accusation can lead to violence and murder of the accused before any trial.

In recent months, government has been vocal about the issue, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issuing an order last month for removal of blasphemous content online and saying anyone who posted such content should face “strict punishment under the law”.

Reuters reported that at least 65 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to figures from a Center for Research and Security Studies report and local media.