Hindu Extremists attack converted Sikh family in Thar
Karachi: A mob of Hindu extremists targeted a Sikh family in the Thar Desert, causing serious injury to its eldest member, claimed a well-placed source of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Sardar Jagjit Singh Khalsa, who is the head of the impoverished Sikh family, was seriously injured when he was attacked by a baton-slinging and gun-toting mob of Hindus led by Brahmins.
Singh, who converted from Hinduism to Sikhism a few years ago after becoming fed up with the inequality in the caste system, was living in a quarter which belonged to a Brahmin named Manga Ram Sharma. Since then, he was being subjected to religious hatred and this situation spiraled out of control when Singh and his family were attacked by a mob comprising mostly Brahmins.
The assailants were led by Mangha Ram Sharma’s brother-in-law, Tulja Ram Joshi, Choith Ram Joshi, Dholo Joshi, Suneel son of Jagdesh and Lonio Sharma. Carrying firearms and other weapons, the group stormed into Singh’s living quarters and attacked the family.
Singh was severely injured, but his wife and children saved his life by shielding him from the attackers, the source said. After carrying out the attack, the extremist Hindus ransacked his residence, looting valuables and throwing the rest of his belongings out of the house.
Due to the clout enjoyed by the Brahmin community in the area, the police refused to register Jagjit Singh’s FIR, the source further claimed.
The source also revealed that his landlord Mangha Ram had been convicted of corruption after he fled to India, taking millions of rupees. Ram was a land official for the Sindh Revenue Department and posted in the Left-Bank Outfall Drainage project.
On March 16, 2005, the Special Judge (Anti-Corruption) Hyderabad declared him an absconder under Section 512 and issued a proclamation under 87 CrPC and ordered to attach his movable or immovable property under 88 CrPC. Thus these quarters were now government property, the source said.
Singh, who was born into a Dalit/Scheduled caste family, ran from pillar to post, but nobody was willing to hear his cries for help out of fear for the Brahmin community.
The sourced added that Singh appealed to the people, the government, Supreme Court and human rights activists to come to his aid. He also announced that he would go on a hunger strike until justice is served.
According to research conducted by Zulfiqar Shah, a researcher associated with Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), as many as 40 schedule castes have been identified in Pakistan at the official level. The Constitution of Pakistan ensures equal rights to all its citizens, but discrimination on the basis of religion, race and caste continues to plague the nation.