The excavations and stone-crushing next to the historical Dhagan Suhagan graveyard in Arore has made sure the deceased residents of Arore are not resting in peace.
A group of residents including the Baloch, Bango and the Bhattis gathered at the graveyard to complain about the stone-crushing business when a team of the Daily Express reached the province’s first capital, Arore, earlier this week. The lease holders and the contractors have been demolishing thousands of graves, said a resident, adding that now they don’t even know where their loved ones are buried.
The 1,300-year-old historical graveyard was home to thousands of graves. Since the stone-crushing began, the area now resembles ancient ruins with human skeletons strewn about the vicinity. Some contractors even use heavy machines to cause mini explosions in the ground. This procedure makes stone collection a lot easier but has caused serious damage to the mausoleums inside the four acres of Dhagan Suhagan.
Located nearly 10 kilometres away from Sukkur, Arore was the first capital of Sindh. While the authorities should have made efforts to preserve this historical city, little has been done to save the graveyard. Residents claim there were thousands of graves on the site that now resembles plain grounds.
When the Express team visited the city, the labourers were busy digging stones from the mountains. However, once they saw the television cameras they ran away. The mausoleums, which are also losing their walls, have been occupied by nomads while the other part of the graveyard is being used by local landlords to dry dates. They have been built mud stoves in the graveyard for this purpose.
There are a number of crushing machines installed in the vicinity which means that a large amount of dust blows into the faces of those who come to offer prayers.
The residents of Arore have been protesting the stone-crushing activities near the Dhagan Suhagan historical graveyard as it has damaged mausoleums located on the site and, in some instances, pushed human skeletons to the surface. PHOTO: EXPRESS
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According to labour union president Bagh Ali Abro, the problem lies with the mines and mineral development department, which has failed to award contracts with proper legal work. Officials are charging bribe to allocate land to contractors near residential areas, mausoleums, historical places and rivers, he claimed, adding that this affects agricultural lands.
The contractors are not only using dynamite explosives but also digging deep holes which prevents the land from being used for any other purpose, he added. The Supreme Court should take actions and bring these contractors in line with the law, he suggested.
For their part, the contractors insisted that they use controlled explosives to blast stones, making sure they do not damage any buildings in the vicinity. Azmat Buriro, a manager for one of the contractors, admitted that the use of explosives is banned by the district administration. “Manual work takes a lot of time and yields little results.”
Sukkur’s additional deputy commissioner Mubeen Elahi confirmed that the district administration gave permission to contractors to use explosives to break the rocks. After complaints from nearby villages, the administration has, however, stopped granting permission for the past one year or so.
As the first capital of Sindh, Arore holds immense historical significance. According to some books, Muhammad Bin Qasim arrived in Hyderabad, which was known as Neron Kot, in 93 Hijri. The next year, he arrived in Arore, where Raja Dahir was the ruler. Muhammad Bin Qasim won a war with Raja Dahir and then left for Multan.
The Muhammad Bin Qasim mosque, which was built in Arore at the time, was considered as one of the first mosques to be built in the sub-continent.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.