India concerned with harassment of Hindus in Pakistan: On May 20, Yazman local administration in Bahawalpur of Punjab province of Pakistan demolished 22 houses belonging to the minority Hindu community.
The Government of India has also reacted strongly to this. On the other hand, the administration has described it as 'anti-encroachment activity.'
At the same time, people of the local Hindu community say that this action has been taken based on their religion.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has condemned this action and said that the community had been targeted based on religion.
However, the Assistant Commissioner of the city says that the construction was done illegally.
India concerned with harassment of Hindus in Pakistan
Faisal Mehmood, the Human Rights Commission's local convenor, has told our sources that the Hindu colony has been demolished where there were 70 houses.
Mehmood was spearheading the fact-finding mission investigating the matter in Chak 52 / DB village near Yesman.
He said that this construction was done on government land more than a decade ago.
The application was made to take the land
Most of the citizens of this area of 15 acres are very poor and uneducated. Most people work in the fields or as daily laborers.
The people of this community had requested to allocate land in the concerned department a few years ago.
A five-marla scheme (1 marle has approximately 25 meters) was specially designed for the welfare of the minority community. Under this land was solicited, the application is still stuck in the process.
However, in 2018 the Board of Revenue permitted him to build a house on the ground.
Community leader Mansha Ram accused the local leader Muhammad Buta that he wanted to take a large piece of this land, and his community opposed it.
Later went to the assistant commissioner's office and complained against Manasha Ram, accusing him of seizing the government land and saying that he was selling the property to the people of his community and making money from it.
Mansha Ram told our sources that, "Our houses were demolished with tractors and bulldozers. The items kept inside the house were also destroyed; women and children kept asking them to wait. We told them that the case was going on, but they did not listen to us. "
22 houses vandalized, dozens left homeless
He had approached the local court for protection following the threat of Muhammad Buta, who had approved his petition and stayed the order to demolish the house.
On May 20, 22 houses were demolished by disobeying the order, and about ten homes were partially destroyed. Dozens of people, including women and children, became homeless.
Salim Gill, a lawyer for the Hindu community in Yazman, says that a contempt petition has been filed against the local administration in the Civil Court of Bahawalpur.
He says, "We will take the legal path and fight in the court."
Hindus accused of inciting religious sentiments
Buta spoke on the phone, saying all the allegations were baseless.
He said, "Mana Ram was selling government land in Chak 52 / DB by bringing Hindus from other areas. The allegations are baseless that I wanted to take possession of the property, it is government land, and I have no right over it, nor I made such a demand. "
"I have no enmity with the Hindu community. It is not my business if I live in another village, although I was particularly sad when some Hindu people insulted the Muslim necropolis.
They drink alcohol at night there but leave empty bottles and glasses, and this must be stopped. "
However, the Commission for Human Rights Mehmood says that he has substantial grounds that Muhammad Buta intimidated the Hindu community into selling the land on the strength of his political connections, which the government had given to the community.
He says, "Buta contacted the assistant commissioner's office and accused some people of the colony of making and drinking liquor in the graveyard. They gave it the color of religion."
"The local authorities did not do their job properly on the ground. They asked for the demolition despite the court order."
Human rights commission condemned
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has described it as a 'matter of concern' that 'the Hindu community is already weak as a religious minority, aiming to take advantage of the local land mafia by targeting religion.'
However, Assistant Commissioner Shahid Khokhar has dismissed the allegations and told that he has acted on the complaint against Manasha Ram.
The latter was selling government land to people in his community and making money.
He said, "There were 16 houses of the Hindu community in Yazman, and the district administration has excellent relations with them."
"10 acres of land of Chak 52 / DB were allotted to the community, and the court also imposed a ban. This means that neither it could be built nor could the land be bought or sold."
Local administration justified the action
Shahid Khokhar said that he had taken 'action' on the complaint of the local people. He had asked his staff to do a ground investigation, on which the team found the complaint correct and action was taken.
He says, "This is not the first such act. The land mafia is active in this area, so we have done this campaign as a daily action."
"Intention Ram was sending the plot on the allotted land. Unfortunately, he is giving it a communal color".
He said that this matter is in the court, and the district administration will work as per the instructions of the court.
Pakistan's Human Rights Commission has asked local Members of Parliament and Union Housing Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema to take action against the culprits.
Also, the commission has directed the Punjab government to give compensation to all the affected families.