Friday, July 09, 2010
By Rabia Ali
As many as 60 Hindu men, women and children were forced into abandoning their homes in Memon Goth and taking refuge in a cattle pen all because of a boy from their community who drank water from a cooler placed outside a mosque, police officials and community members told The News.
These hapless people ran away from the wrath of some of the influential tribesmen of the area who got so enraged by the incident, which took place last week, that they beat up the members of the Hindu community and forced them into evicting their quarters.
“All hell broke loose when my son, Dinesh, who looked after chickens in a farm, drank water from a cooler outside a mosque. Upon seeing him do that, the people of the area started beating him up.
“Later, around 150 tribesmen attacked us, injuring seven of our people — Samo, Mohan, Hero, Chanu, Sadu, Heera, and Guddi — who were taken to the Jinnah Hospital,” said Meerumal, a resident of the area.
One of the injured, Heera, while showing this correspondent his wounds, said that another 400 families of the area, located in the vicinity of Malir, were also being threatened to leave the area.
“Our people are even scared of going out of their houses. We are also putting up with living in the filthy pen because we cannot go home for fear of being killed,” he said.
The SHO of the Memon Goth police station, commenting on the issue, said, “A trivial incident led to riots between the people of the area. Since both the communities happened to be illiterate, the matter just flared up.”
However, he dismissed the claims of lack of security to the Hindu community in the area and said that they could go back to their homes anytime they wanted to.
Meanwhile, Minister for Minority Affairs Dr Mohan Lal assured the Hindu community of full government protection.
“I have directed the DPO and the SHO to ensure that these people go back to their houses safely,” he said.
The minister said that the culprits would be dealt with severely.
Abdul Hai, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that these people, who belonged to the Bheels caste, had been living in the area for several years.
“They are former bonded laborers. Now they earn a meager sum of Rs4,000 to Rs5,000 monthly as watchmen at the farms. Some of them also work for the tribesmen.
“The government must help them in moving back to their homes in order to instill confidence in other families and prevent them from packing their bags too,” he said.