Feeling unsafe: A fight between two boys leads to stress in the neighbourhood

Residents claim a group of boys entered their area and threatened to burn their homes down

Rabia Ali August 16, 2014

KARACHI: An incident that took place on August 2 is still causing trouble for the residents of Landhi No. 2.

The Christians living in the area have been under stress after a fight broke out between two young boys. No one is sure about how the boys got into a fight. The neighbours claim that the two boys fought when one of them misbehaved with a girl while the other group, which is Muslim, believes it happened during a game.

According to the residents, after the fight a group of young men entered their neighbourhood and threatened them with physical violence and wanted to burn down their homes.

However, nothing happened as the neighbours got together and managed to make the boys leave the area.

Riaz Masih, a labourer, received a head injury when the group of boys initially refused to leave the area. They sat outside his house. He keeps a towel on his head which still hurts from the incident. "They hit me with a rod when I came outside to see what was happening," said the father of six. "Just because some men are powerful and are a part of the majority, they think they can do anything they want." He added that he hasn't been to work as the doctor told him his condition was serious.

His neighbours, who gathered at his small house to ask about his health, claim that they had never seen anything like this in the 40 years they have lived in the area. They say that everything was peaceful till a couple of months ago.

According to Masih's neighbours, they feel threatened. "Inebriated men come and stand outside our church during Sunday mass," said Waseem Yaqoob, a social worker and former councilor. "They tease our women. They steal our electricity."

Since the fight, the same group of boys has been into this colony in Landhi at least three times. The Rangers and police, according to the residents, have done nothing despite repeated complaints.

"We don't want revenge. We are peace loving people," said Yaqoob. "All we want to is put a little pressure on them so they refrain from attacking us in the future."

According to Haji Ismail, who spoke on behalf of the other boy, said that it was a small argument that has turned into a huge issue for no reason. "It was a small dispute. We have told our men not to get provoked in the future," he said. "All issues have been sorted out."

The men and women of the area, however, are still feeling unsafe. Around 25 women and children carrying sticks marched towards a group of men standing on Landhi No. 2. The men backed off when they saw the group approaching.

An angry woman with henna-dyed hair said that they had been patient for too long. "These men were about to get into our homes and give our men a beating," said Bilquis as she ran a hand through her hair. "We had to show them that we could resist them."

Landhi MPA Khalid Iftikhar said that he had asked the complainants to go to the police station and register an FIR. According to the MPA this was the first time such an incident took place in his constituency and all efforts were being made to avoid them in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th,2014.


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