The mob that swarmed a Christian couple's home in Pakistan on Tuesday broke down their door and beat them before dragging them to the kiln where they worked and throwing them in, CNN reports. For those acts, the killers should receive "no mercy," says Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, reports the New York Times. The "state must act proactively to protect its minorities from violence and injustice," including this "unacceptable crime" against Shahzad and Shama Masih. The two were abducted in their small village in Punjab province after being accused of desecrating the Koran. Around 40 people have been arrested so far, including the owner of the kiln and clerics who reportedly instigated the mob.
"Everybody saw how a charged mob of more than 1,000 came on trolleys and tortured and burned the couple to death,” the local police chief tells the Times. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan sent a team to the site and found no evidence that the couple had actually desecrated the Koran. Instead, the commission believes the incident was sparked by a money dispute with the kiln owner. Human rights groups have lobbied to repeal the country's anti-blasphemy law; activists say it's often usurped to settle personal vendettas instead. The HRCP says the couple had three young children and were expecting a fourth. (Islamist protesters in Bangladesh demanded an anti-blasphemy law last year.)