An eight-year-old shepherd was beaten up by a landlord and his tenants because one of the child’s goats strayed into their field.
One of the landlord’s tenats, however, claimed that it was a routine for the child to bring his goats to their fields and that they had taught him a lesson. Muhammad Arshad, resident of Chak 123, told The Express Tribune that Asadullah Dogar and his men took him to their dera and beat him up with sticks. “I apoligised and told him that it was not deliberate. I was trying to keep the goats away from his (Asadullah’s) land but one of them wandered away,” he said. He said he ran after it but was caught by one of Asadullah’s men.
A complaint was registered with the Layyah City police by Arshad’s uncle, Muhammad Amin. Amin said Asadullah was adamant that he would not release his nephew until the family compensated him for his loss. “The goat only ate a few bushes but Asadullah said he would not relax Arshad unless the family paid up. We’re poor shepherds. We don’t carry that kind of money,” he said.
He said Dogar’s men released Arshad in the afternoon after their neighbours intervened on their behalf and requested the landlord to forgive the child. He said the child was immediately taken to Layyah district headquarters (DHQ) hospital with serious injuries to his back and head.
Talking to the Tribune, one of the tenants admitted that the child had been taken to the dera and beaten up. He said the boy routinely brought his goats to their fields and they needed to teach him a lesson. “We till those fields all day. The boy had been bringing his goats for several days and on Thursday we caught him red-handed,” he said.
Station house officer Haji Saeed said an FIR would be registered once the medical report was available. He said he and his team had earlier gone to the hospital to take down the child’s statements. “He’s fine now. He has bruises on his back. The head injury was not very serious,” he said.
Dr Muhammad Idrees, who examined the child at the DHQ hospital, said the child had injuries to his back and his head. He said he had been beaten by sticks. “The child is stable now. We will discharge him tomorrow morning. His injuries will take a few days to heal,” he said.
Asadullah Dogar was not available for his comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2011.
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