A mob dug out the grave of a local Hindu within 12 hours of his burial in a Pangrio city graveyard in Badin district on Sunday.
Bhuro Bheel, a local Hindu belonging to the lower caste Dalit, died in a road accident on Saturday. He was brought to Civil Hospital Hyderabad where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The family buried his remains in the Haji Faqeer graveyard.
Tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities was palpable as the small town looked deserted. The Muslim mob had dug the body out and placed it right outside the graveyard on the plea that a Hindu could not be buried in a Muslim graveyard.
Bhuro’s body remained exposed to the elements for eight hours as the family and relatives found it impossible to remove it fearing for their own lives with the hundreds-strong mob looming. Locals and the family confirmed to The Express Tribune that dozens of other Bheel community corpses were already buried in the graveyard and no one had ever objected.
A member of the local Hindu community, Dr Moti Bheel told The Express Tribune they were warned by some local youngsters to remove Bhuro’s body. “We informed the police about the matter,” he said, adding that announcements were made from a local mosque urging the Hindu community to remove the body or that it would be removed on Sunday morning.
Hundreds of Bheel community members along with supporters from Sindhi nationalist parties and civil society thronged the police station to protest. “Meanwhile the body was removed, dragged and left near the graveyard,” said Bhuro’s brother.
Maulvi Mithan Sikandri, a local cleric, informed The Express Tribune that the Sharia does not allow for a Hindu to be interred in a Muslim graveyard. Sikandri however denied that any Bheel body was ever buried in the graveyard. “I have been living in Pangrio for the last 40 years and I have never come across such an instance,” he said while confirming the mosque announcements.
Meanwhile, President of the Sindh Hari Purhyat Council Punhal Sario who reached the area at the time of the incident said, “hundreds of Bheel supporters including Muslims have reached Pangrio. However the situation is extremely tense.”
He accused local religious clerics of instigating the Muslim community by also inviting students from Madressas of nearby towns.
A local landlord in the evening provided space for the body to be buried. Station house officer Pangrio confirmed reports of tensions between the two communities.
“I have also been informed that more than 10 Bheel bodies are already buried in the graveyard,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2013.