Thari villagers hold demo against police brutality

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Heavy contingents of police from different police stations of Tharparker district raided the houses of the residents of Warvai village near Islamkot town in the wee hours of Saturday and allegedly tortured women and children and picked up as many as 20 villagers.

A large number of residents as well as activists of different parties and members of the civil society took out rallies and staged a demonstration outside Islamkot Press Club. They registered their anger against police brutalities meted out to those villagers, who refused to vacate their hearths and homes on the directions of the high-ups of the coal mining companies.

Suhrab Rahimoon Sanauulah Rahimoon, Murid Ali, Mohammad Ibrahim Abdul Ghaffar and leaders of the villagers said that people from Rahimoon and Syed communities had not been paid their dues by the mining companies for their lands and other properties. Therefore, they said, they had refused to vacate their homes despite the fact functionaries of the coal mining companies had erected a fence around their villages and limited their movement.

They deplored the fact that police during the raids picked up as many as 20 persons after registering FIR against 26 villagers. “Notables of the area are among those who were picked up by police during overnight raids,” they added. They alleged that during the raids officials of the mining company along with their security guards also tortured them.

They said they had informed the high-ups of the Sindh government as well as executives of the mining companies but they sent police teams, who, after subjecting them to torture, took away their ten people in the wee hours of Saturday when they were asleep.

Thari villagers believed that FIRs against their villagers had been registered on the behalf of a complaint of a police officer at Jhangro police station. They also deplored the fact the lawmakers from the desert district, who had promised them adequate compensation for their lands and other properties, were nowhere to be seen when they were subjected to the worst state operation at the behest of the officials of the mining companies.

They also lashed out at the Tharparkar deputy commissioner and other revenue officials for their alleged criminal silence over such atrocities on peaceful villagers. When contacted, Tharparkar DC Mohammad Nawaz Soho told Minute Mirror that Sindh had already paid the compensation to all residents of Varwai village. He claimed that some miscreants, despite being warned time and again, were inciting other villagers.

He said that he had sent the teams of revenue officials to request the villagers to vacate the village and lands after they were given compensation for their lands and other properties.

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at hanifsamoon@gmail.com

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