A little over a month after a Hindu temple was vandalized in Pakistan, a farm worker's family from the minority community was allegedly tortured and held hostage for “violating the sanctity” of a village mosque after they obtained water from its tap
A little over a month after a Hindu temple was vandalized in Pakistan, a farm worker's family from the minority community was allegedly tortured and held hostage for “violating the sanctity” of a village mosque after they obtained water from its tap. The incident took place a few days back in Basti Kahoor Khan city of Rahim Rahim Yar Khan district – where the temple vanidalization had also happened in August - under Punjab province
According to Dawn, Alam Ram Bheel, a resident of Basti Kahoor Khan in the city suburbs, was picking raw cotton along with his other family members, including his wife, in a field of Chak 106-P. Ram said when the family went outside a nearby mosque to fetch drinking water from a tap, some local landlords and their men beat them.
When the family was returning home after unloading the picked cotton, the landlords held them hostage at their outhouse and tortured them again.
Later, some Muslim residents of Basti Kahoor Khan got the Bheel family released.
Ram Bheel said the police did not register the case as the attackers were related to a local Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) – the country’s ruling party - parliamentarian.
Ram said he held a sit-in outside the police station, along with another clan member Peter Jhon Bheel to protest the highhandedness.
Peter Jhon Bheel told Dawn that they approached PTI Member of the National Assembly Javed Warriach who helped them lodge the FIR on Friday last.
PTI’s south Punjab minority wing secretary general Yodhister Chohan told Dawn the incident was in his knowledge but due to the influence of a ruling party MP he preferred to stay away.
Confirming the incident, Farooq Rind, a senior lawyer and former district bar president, said he also belonged to Basti Kahoor where the Bheels had been living for more than a century. He said most clan members were farmworkers and extremely poor.
Rind said the accused landlords were notorious for picking up fights with other villagers over petty issues. He promised free legal aid for the family.
In August, a temple of Hindu god Ganesh was vandalized in the district’s Bhong town - some 590 km from Lahore –by a mob, following which the Hindus fled from the area.
However, within days the temple was restored by the local administration and opened to worshipers.
Pakistan’s apex court had hen taken suo moto notice of the incident saying it had damaged the country’s reputation at the international level and censured the Punjab police for failing to protect the religious place.
The Hindus, who constituted around 14 percent of the population in West Punjab (present Pakistan) when India was partitioned in 1947, now form a little over two percent of the total population.
The majority of the Hindus left Pakistan for India in the immediate aftermath of the partition, and the migration has continued through the decades.