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PAKISTAN: The body of a Hindu Dalit was exhumed and desecrated after a Muslim mob removed it from a graveyard #protest

October 9, 2013

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-133-2013

9 October 2013
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PAKISTAN: The body of a Hindu Dalit was exhumed and desecrated after a Mosque incited a Muslim mob to remove it from a graveyard

ISSUES: Discrimination on the basis of religion, intolerance, religious minority groups, impunity
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the exhumation of the body of a young Hindu artist, belonging to the scheduled caste of Bheel, after announcements were made from a Mosque to remove it from a graveyard. The mob, lead by known criminals and Muslim extremists, attacked the graveyard and after exhuming the body they dragged it to the main road where it was left for hours.

The local police were aware of the body lying on the main road but did not take any steps to remove it and instead sent a message to the religious minority communities that they do not have any future in an Islamic country. The police yet have not arrested anyone and not even an FIR has been lodged against the Mosque leader (Pesh Imam) who incited to the local community.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The body of a Hindu Dalit, Mr. Bhoro Bheel, who was a member of a scheduled caste from the Bheel community, was buried in the local graveyard of Haji Fakir at Kum Dar Karo Mal village, near Pangrio town, Taluqa Tando Bhago, Badin district, Sindh province on October 6th after he died in a road accident.

The news of the burial of a Hindu in the Muslim graveyard spread like wildfire and within a very short time the citizens of Pangrio town and its adjoining areas were infuriated. The local Muslim religious leaders tried to instigate the other Muslims by announcing on the loudspeakers of the mosque that a non-Muslim was buried in a Muslim graveyard, pleading that it was against the teaching of Islam to allow a non-Muslim to be buried alongside Muslims in the same graveyard. These religious fundamentalists also invited the students of various Madressas, (Muslim seminaries) from nearby towns like Jhuddo and Matli, who came armed with sophisticated weapons and posed a great danger to the law and order situation of the area. They later led the mob to the graveyard, exhumed the body and then dragged it to a road side where it was dumped. The body remained there for over eight hours until the relatives buried the corpse in another place.

A Muslim cleric has also issued a Fatwa, a Muslim declaration, that Hindus cannot be buried in the Muslim graveyards to justify the act of hooliganism against Hindus. Please find in the present appeal the picture of the Fatwa issued by a Muslim cleric sitting in Faisalabad, Punjab province.

The police remained a spectator and made no move to stop the incident. No one has yet been arrested whereas the whole district was affected by the incident and the Hindu population was out on the streets. The community strongly criticised the role of the police, including Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Badin Mr Shaukat Khatian for his criminal attitude towards the protesting Hindus when the incident took place. The SSP ordered the police not to interfere in the hooliganism and the armed attack which resulted in the exhumation of the Hindu singer. At the graveyard there was a heavy contingent of police who was stationed in 12 police vans under the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr. Aslam Khanzada. They were present when the body was dug up, dragged through the streets and desecrated.

(In upper two photos the grave was dug and body was taken out, in bottom on left side body is being dragged by Muslim mob and at right side body was thrown on the main road of the village)

After three days of continuous protests by the Hindu community, by the media and civil society groups, the police lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against 25 persons but not against the Mosque leaders who incited the villagers to attack the graveyard. The SSP, in a bid to divert the government reaction made the station head officer (SHO) Ali Asghar the scapegoat by suspending him. However, in order to appease the zealots he has not taken action against the Muslim leaders.

Dalit families, while protesting this discrimination, claimed they have been burying their dead in the graveyard of Haji Faqeer Oliya in Pangriyo town for decades and that there is a separate space for Dalits in the graveyard. Some mischievous religious elements of the town objected to the burial of a non-Muslim in the graveyard but with the intervention of local civil society and notables the family managed to bury the youth’s body.

Following the exhumation and protests the body was reinterred in an agriculture land of the local leader of from the ruling party, the PML-N, Mir Manzoor Ahmed Talpur. The incident has sent the waves of shock and grief through the civil society and rights groups. They have termed the act as the worst type of violation of human rights and grave discrimination against Hindus.

Dr. Moti Bheel , the leader of the Bheel community, in talking to the local media claimed that they have been burying their deceased in the same graveyard for centuries. He added that the incident was the worst-ever in Sindh in the recent history. Such practices and conspiracies were not only tarnishing the image of Pakistan but creating great unrest among the marginalized communities in Sindh. He demanded that the authorities order a thorough inquiry into the matter.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A fact finding team is visiting Badin to collect facts about the desecration of the body. The team consists of representatives of the Pakistan Fisherfolk, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, SPARC and the Hyderabad Press Club.

According to the information received by the AHRC, the Hindu young man was known as Bhajan Singer of the area. He was buried in the portion of the graveyard which was allotted for Hindus a century earlier. With the increase of the Muslim population the allocated place for Hindus became smaller. In Taluqo Tando Bhago the total population is 36,000 and among them more than 10,000 is Hindu and they have continuously been made the target of hate campaigns so that they either leave Pakistan or convert to Islam.

 

TOS END APPEALS CLCIK HERE-  http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-133-2013

The attack was conducted by persons and criminals from a political party, PML-Functional which is always treated as the political party of General Head Quarters (GHQ). The party’s leader Khamiso Laghari was leading the mob along with Muslim clerics of the area and some known criminals. The gangsters and Muslim leaders are threatening the media persons and have also threatened local journalists of the Pangrio with dire consequences in the coming days.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please send letters to the following authorities calling on them to provide protection to the Hindu families and journalists of the district Badin, Sindh, as it is believed they are in serious danger of retaliation from the Muslim fundamentalists. Please also urge them to prosecute the high officials of the police from Badin for not stopping such ugly action and for not intervening against the Muslim attackers as well as for not arresting them. The provincial government must follow the constitutional obligations for safety and security of the religious minority groups.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief calling for his intervention into this matte

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