ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-119-2010
25 August 2010
PAKISTAN: A Hindu community is attacked and evicted on fabricated Blasphemy charges, houses burned causing death of a person by firing ISSUES: Religious intolerance, blasphemy, threats to life and property,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a Muslim group attacked on a Hindu community that had been living there for a century during the early hours on 23 August 2010 in order to grab the land occupied by the Hindu community in Sindh Province of Pakistan. The Hindu community, who are minority in
The government authorities have not taken any initiative to protect the minority community till date.
A centuries-old Hindu community had settled in Mir Wah Gorchani city, Mirpurkhas district of Sindh province and their main settlement were known as the Bhemo Mal Megwar colony and Metha Ram Megwar Para. The total population of the Hindus in the area is more than 400 and the community has been in existence before the formation of
In the early hours of 23 August 2010, at around 2am, Maulvi Mushtaq Ahmed Naqshbandi, a leader of the local mosque and Jamia Siddiqia seminary, announced through the loudspeakers that there was some wall chalking in which abusive words had been written against the last prophet (Peace be upon him) of Islam by the Hindus. He provoked that the people should come out from houses to teach the Hindu community a lesson. When some people asked for proof that the Hindus were responsible for the chalking Maulvi said that a truck driver had informed him that when he was entering the area near the mosque he saw a young man standing at the wall and after seeing the driver he (young man) ran away towards the Hindu community of Bhemo Mal Megwar. The driver saw the wall chalking and he quickly informed this to Maulvi.
Maulvi also provoked the Muslim inhabitants to search the houses of the Hindus and find the young man whose hand must be stained with black ink. Around 50 persons under the leadership of Maulvi started searching each house during which women were dragged by the hair out from the houses in their sleeping garments conditions; children were kicked to force them to leave the houses. There were 60 houses and it took three hours to search for the man suspected of the blasphemy but no such person was found in the community. When the situation deteriorated after the humiliation of the Hindus and the threats from the Muslims to burn the Hindu-houses, a police party under district police officer of Mirpurkahs arrived and started controlling the mob of more than three hundred Muslims. The angry mob started pelting the police with stones shouting slogans to burn down the houses of the Hindus. The mob then burned three houses and looted the belongings of the community.
In the meantime the loudspeakers of the mosque were continuously used to provoke the Muslims to attack the houses of Hindus of Bhemo Mal Megwar that might have provided shelter to the person, who had written blasphemous writings on the walls around the mosque. The mob was swelling and going out of control so the Rangers were called to help the police in controlling the mob. As the Rangers came some miscreants used fire arms during which one Ranger, Mr. Haq Nawaz, received a bullet injury. The rangers and police used tear gas shell and baton charged the mob. On the demand of the Muslim leaders seven Hindus were arrested on the charges of Blasphemy. The arrested persons were Mr. Faqeero, Mr. Kirchand, Mr. Mukesh, Mr. Kishan, Mr. Prem and Mr. Heroo Ram Chand. One possible reason for their arrest is that they were the only persons available at that time as the Hindus fled the area to take shelter in other places. The minority community also left all their belongings and animals that have been without water and fodder since then.
One young Muslim man, Mohammad Imran, was killed by gunfire. In the funeral prayers one particular person attended. He is Pir Aube Jan Sarhandi, from Sanghar city, of Sindh province, and is known in the area along the Indian border to convert Hindu women to Islam by abducting them. He openly claims that he has converted 2000 Hindus to Islam.
The Bheemo Mal Megwar Para has been a registered Hindu colony since the creation of
The same method was applied last year by the alleged land grabbers in Soomra colony of Mirpurkhas where, during the Hindu festival of Holy (colour festival) two Hindu communities, the Kohli para and Bheel Para, were attacked on the false charges of writing blasphemous words. The Hindus had to leave the area and moved to other places. The land grabbers have purchased the land from these two communities at throw away prices.
The dark aspect of the incident is that extreme, militant Muslim organizations are using the tool of blasphemy as the best way to keep religious minority groups under pressure. The State is failing to protect the lives and property of the minority community. The blasphemy law has made it compulsory that no police officer below the level of Superintendent of Police can investigate the charges but this is rarely adhered to.
Religious minority groups in
The misuse of loudspeakers is continuous in
Please write letters to the authorities urging them to take stern action against the persons responsible for attacking on the century-old settlements of the Hindu community. Please also urge the authorities to stop the misuse of Blasphemy law. The misuse of loudspeakers from the mosques should be stopped. The government should help the displaced Hindu community for their rehabilitation in their own settlements. Maulvi Mushtaq should be arrested and prosecuted on the charges of misusing loudspeakers from the mosque and taking search of the houses of the Hindu community illegally. The government should also provide compensation to the family of the Muslim man, Mr. Mohammad Imran, who was killed during the firing from the extremist elements.
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