A Hindu family from Memon Goth has had to leave home after a dispute in which several people were injured.
The family claims that their boys were beaten for drinking from a mosque’s water cooler. However, the police say that it is a land dispute in which the two parties clashed. This is why people were injured.
The family’s version
“It was too hot. I was tired and thristy. So my cousin Krishna and I went to the cooler and drank water with our hands,” said the 12-year-old Dinesh. He says that just as he did this, a man he identifies as Pannah Khan and his friends arrived.
‘You are not allowed to drink from this cooler,’ they said to him before beating the two boys with sticks, kicks and punches. Dinesh says he fell to the ground unconscious while Krishna escaped to run home.
“They hit me very badly,” says Dinesh. He was given stitches on his arm and head and his left foot was fractured.
The family says that Dinesh’s father Meerumal went to the area with other relatives. They complained to Haji Kala Khan Jokhio, his son Haji Sufi and Muhammad Pannah. The family said that they were abused in response.
“They told us that he had committed a crime and had been punished,” Meerumal told The Express Tribune. “We are not clean, so we cannot touch their water.”
According to him, Haji Kala Khan Jokhio and his men asked the family to leave the area because it was likely that they would repeat the ‘crime’.
The family says it decided to register a complaint with the Memon Goth police. While none was filed, the police assured them of security and protection. However, after they left the police station, people were waiting for them at their homes. The family claims that the police tipped off the group.
“They kicked us and attacked us with axes,” says Guddi, 32, who was injured and needed stitches on her right hand and shoulder. “They beat us like animals.”
Saama, 76, the head of the family, was also injured. One of his hands and two teeth were broken.
“I was requesting Haji Kala to leave us alone and I said that we would move to some other area,” Saama claimed. When the lane in front of their homes turned into a battlezone, little Heera was sitting on the roof and came down. “I was shouting at them to leave my father alone, when one of them threw me into a ditch and pelted me with stones,” he said.
The family consists of 21 members, 11 children, six females and five men. They have left their home near Kala Khan hotel in Memon Goth and sought shelter with Saeen Bux Brohi in the nearby Brohi Goth.
They are now living in a buffalo yard with no clean water to drink, nothing to eat and no electricity.
“They are still harassing us and want us to leave this area,” says Guddi.
The police’s version
The police did not agree with the family’s version of the story. “It’s a land dispute and they are exploiting their religion,” said Memon Goth SHO Nasiruddin while talking to The Express Tribune.
He said that there are many Hindus in the area, “so why were they choosen for the beating”?
“They have occupied some land of the Jokhio family which is why they were beaten,” he said. According to him, both parties have registered reports at the police station and had reached an agreement.
“There are many Hindus in the area and tens of them drink water from that cooler,” Nasir said, adding that the two parties had a fight and that is why they were injured.
Abdul Hai, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said the family had also reported the case to them. “If their story is true, we condemn it,” he went on to say.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2010.
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