A Hindu family was allegedly tortured by local Muslims for drinking water from a local mosque in Rahim Yar Khan district, sources said.
According to details, Aalim Ram Bheel and his family members were harvesting cotton in the fields in Kahor Khan village Chak No. 106/P on Sept 11, when he went to drink water from a tap installed in a nearby mosque.
“When I was filling the bucket with water, Mian Ghaffar, a local villager, reached the spot and started insulting me, saying I had contaminated the water. When I questioned his behaviour, he started cursing and abusing me and later slapped and punched me,” Bheel stated in the FIR [First Information Report] No. 204/21 registered with the Airport Police Station, Rahim Yar Khan.
Bheel stated that when his family members and 15 other Hindu women who were working in the fields came to his rescue, some other Muslim men, namely Mian Raziq, Mian Jabbar and Mian Nisar also arrived there and started beating them all.
“The assailants stopped when some other villagers intervened in the matter,” he stated.
The victim claimed that the accused also robbed them off Rs35,000 and his mother’s gold ornament worth Rs40,000 before leaving.
According to sources, the Airport police were initially reluctant to register an FIR against the accused due to alleged influence of local politicians, however a case was registered the next day after the Hindu community protested against the incident.
No accused has been arrested so far, the sources added.
Talking to Kross Konnection, Samaj Sewa Foundation Chairman Chaman Lal said that the incident was a classic example of the blatant religious discrimination and prejudice being faced by the Pakistani Hindu community on a daily basis.
“The accused also abducted a member of the Bheel family and took him to their Dera (outhouse) and tortured him. According to the victim, the accused told them to leave Pakistan and threatened that they would all be killed if they refused,” Lal said.
Narrating a personal experience, Lal said that he had recently visited the office of the Local Government and Community Development in Rahim Yar Khan for some official work where a clerk stopped him from drinking water in a glass used by Muslim staff members.
“Just when I was about to pour water in a glass, a clerk approached me and asked about my faith. When I told him that I was a Hindu he said I could not use the glass. When I told him that there were several Hindus working in government departments, he said they all had separate utensils,” he said.
Lal said that the Hindu community were proud Pakistanis but unfortunately they were labelled as Indians and were subjected to persecution.
“The government needs to start awareness campaigns to address the prevalent discrimination against vulnerable religious minorities,” he said, adding that the justice system also needed to be sensitized towards the minorities for the redressal of their genuine complaints.
Pakistan Hindu Council Chairman and Member of the National Assembly Ramesh Kumar Vankvani refused to comment on the issue.
Earlier on Aug 4, hundreds of Muslims vandalised a Hindu temple in Bhong town in Sadiqabad district and blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5) for hours after a nine-year old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated in a local seminary and was booked for alleged blasphemy, was granted bail by a local court.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed took suo moto notice of the temple’s desecration and ordered the authorities concerned to arrest the culprits and also charge them for the expenses that would be incurred in rebuilding the temple. Prime Minister Imran Khan had also taken notice of the incident and ordered action against those responsible for the unrest and vandalism of the Hindu temple.
On Aug 30, a group of miscreants vandalised a temporary Hindu temple built to celebrate the festival of Janmashtami, the birthday of Krishna, a Hindu deity, in Khipro in the Sanghar district of Sindh province. The idol of Krishna was also broken.