GHOTKI: Communal tensions ran high in Sindh's Ghotki district today, after a Hindu man was arrested for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran a day earlier.

Two Hindu men were shot having tea at a stall in Ghotki's town of Mirpur Mathelo, during an attack by a mob today. One of the victims, 17-year-old Dewan Sateesh Kumar, succumbed to his injuries while his friend Avinash is in a critical condition, police said.

Police and Rangers personnel have been deployed in most towns. Local leaders of the Hindu community demanded protection of their lives and properties, in wake of the tensions.

"A local trader Dewan Satesh Kumar has been killed," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ghotki Masood Ahmed Bangash told journalists.

He said police with the help of Rangers are trying to diffuse the tense situation, which emerged after villagers in Mehran Samejo near Daharki "caught" a Hindu man desecrating pages of the Holy Quran.

Locals said that the Hindu suspect, Amar Lal, is a drug addict who had begun living in a mosque after converting to Islam a few month ago, adding that his mental condition is "unstable".

All big and small towns of Ghotki district including Daharki, Mirpur Mathelo, Ubauro and Khan Pur Mehar remained closed today due to communal tensions, with cities deserted for the second consecutive day.

Local leaders of religious parties including Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) and Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat (ASWJ) have demanded "severe punishment" for the accused.

In Daharki, where some burnt pages of the holy book were found outside an old mosque, emotionally charged protesters on Tuesdayassembled at a section of the National Highway and held a sit-in for five hours, demanding the arrest of the culprit, who was taken into custody by Daharki police.

Soon after the incident, protesters in most of the towns took to the roads and staged demonstrations against the alleged sacrilege. They also burnt tyres, tried to ransack shops owned by Hindus and clashed with police.

Sukkur SSP Amjad Shaikh went to the protest site in Daharki along with his team and tried to persuade people to end their sit-in but his vehicle came under attack and sustained damage.

The accused was booked and shifted to an undisclosed location by police. SSP Bangash said that police and law enforcement agencies personnel arrested over 150 people on rioting charges in overnight raids in the district. He said heavy contingents of police had been posted at sensitive areas particularly outside the houses of Hindus living in the area.