Saturday, May 22, 2010

Police Occupied Graveyard at Pakistan

Police firing and batten charge on the fishermen community mob, injuring six women and children near Chashma Village, Bin Qasim Town on Thursday infuriated further the people, who were protesting against the occupation on the land of old graveyard. Residents of eight coastal villages, including Chashma Goth use the land for burying their loved ones through their forefathers. For the last few years the government’s agency (Military) occupied the graveyard, forbidden the people to refrain from burying their people there. Despite complaints the government authorities left the people at the mercy of certain agency personnel and the police, the statement added.
It is the only graveyard for the eight villages, comprising 100,000 people. On Thursday, a large number of the villagers, including women gathered to oppose the wall the agency tried to cover up the 300 acre area enraged the people by force. In result at least six women were injured by police. The police later registered FIR against the 42 protesting community activists, including Mohammed Ali Shah, chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), instead of the people occupying the land. PFF statement said Mohammed Ali Shah, being community representative went to the spot for moral support to the neglected community, whose graveyards are not safe and being occupied.
When villagers tried to lodge FIR against the influential agency, the police refused and threatened people to leave the area. The fishermen of neighbouring localities after this action are feared and decided to take the issue at higher authorities to get the graveyard land back. The community people are designing petition against the police action and grabbing precious land, which they will file in the court and also sent the same to international human rights groups.
The PFF statement further said the police have arrested eight activists and conducting raids to hunt others to create fear and anxiety in Rehri and surrounding villages. PFF condemned the indicting name of Mohammed Ali Shah in the FIR and said it may cause uncertainty among the already deprived poor fishermen.
Police and military personnel besieged 15 neighbouring villages to arrest more people and harass them to withdraw their stands of taking the land.
The PFF has demanded the government to save the graveyard and ensure security to their properties and natural resources. PFF also appealed to civil society organizations, human rights groups and political activists to come forward for the community help.
Earlier, the Military officials held meetings with the community people and realizing the plea allowed them to visit frequently their graveyard. But recently, when the army tried to build wall around the land, the community took stand and opposed the action. In result, under the tutelage of army personnel, police resorted to batten charge and firing.
Protest against occupation of graveyard land: Five hurt as police baton-charge villagers
By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: At least five people including two women and a child were injured on Friday when police baton-charged hundreds of residents of coastal villages protesting against the occupation of a historical graveyard in Chasma Goth by Pakistan Army Malir Cantonment personnel.

The protesting villagers had gathered to demolish the recently constructed boundary wall around the graveyard by the army personnel. However, a large number of Ibrahim Hyderi policemen reached the spot and baton-charged the protesters.

Later, the police registered an FIR no 164/2010 against 42 villagers of Chasma Goth, Goth Ilyas Jat, Ali Brohi Goth and other small fishermen settlements. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) Chairman Mohammed Ali Shah was nominated as the main accused in the FIR.

The villagers told this scribe that the graveyard held immense importance for them as 100,000 people living in fishermen settlements have been burying their deceased loved ones there for the last several decades, but now army personnel had occupied it.

“They [Pakistan Army personnel] have occupied the graveyard, and are not allowing villagers to bury their departed ones in it,” said PFF office-bearer Sami Memon. “We tried to register a case against those who occupied the graveyard, but instead, the police refused to do so,” Memon added.
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