Pakistan: Hindu family tortured for fetching drinking water from mosque
A poor Hindu family reportedly faced torture in Pakistan's Punjab province for fetching water from a mosque. The poor farmers were tortured and held hostage by local landlords for violating the sanctity of their place of worship, reports said. Notably, Hindus, who form the biggest minority community in Pakistan, often complain of harassment in the country. Here are more details.
What was the incident?
The incident occurred when Alam Ram Bheel, a resident of Rahimyar Khan city, was picking raw cotton along with his family members in a field. According to Bheel, they were beaten up by local landlords when they went to fetch drinking water from a tap in a nearby mosque. The family was held hostage and tortured again while returning home after finishing their work.
Police reluctant to register case; victim staged protest
Bheel said the police were initially reluctant to register a case against the attackers, as the accused were related to a local parliamentarian of Prime Minister Imran Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Bheel said he held a sit-in protest against police apathy outside the police station. A case was lodged on Friday only after they approached ruling PTI lawmaker Javed Warriach.
Accused landlords notorious for picking fights, say locals
Confirming the incident, Farooq Rind, a senior lawyer, said the accused landlords are notorious for picking up fights with other villagers over petty issues. Rind promised free legal aid for the complainant family. PTI's south Punjab minority wing Secretary-General Yodhister Chohan also confirmed the incident. However, he maintained he preferred to stay away due to the influence of the ruling party MP.
District peace committee ignored incident: Report
Peter Jhon Bheel, a member of the district peace committee, told Dawn that despite his request to call an emergency meeting over the issue, other members of the district peace committee ignored it. Notably, Peter had also joined Bheel in his sit-in protest. However, Deputy Commissioner Dr. Khuram Shehzad denied Peter's claim of the peace committee's inactivity, saying that it was "fully functional."
Deputy Commissioner to meet Hindu minority elders Monday
Meanwhile, District Police Officer Asad Sarfraz said that he was looking into the whole incident. DC Shehzad added that after the Bhong temple issue, the district administration had received some complaints from the minority community, which proved fake when investigated. Thus, he maintained, that before taking any action, he would meet Hindu minority elders on Monday.