ISLAMABAD: The fact-finding mission appointed by ministry of human rights to probe into the killing of a Hindu worker in Therparker in Sindh province, has recommended the federal government to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) or conduct judicial inquiry into the case.
The issue of minority rights was echoed in the corridors of federal public offices, when the vicious murder of a Hindu poor man Dodo Bheel, resident of district Tharparker- who was allegedly tortured in custody of security staff of the state-owned mining company was reported on July 1st 2021.
The issue was taken up by the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, based on civil society protests and information from other sources. As a result of all this, a fact-finding mission was established consisting of broad-based members of the society, led by Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Mr Lal Chand Malhi.
The mission in its report has pointed fingers at a provincial minister and police high ups for intentionally messing up the facts of the brutal murder of a Hindu daily wager Dodo Bheel.
Members of Mission condoled with the family over the alleged killing of Dodo Bheel and his injured brother namely Mooro and one other laborer namely Gulam Qadir S/o Hassan Khokhar who was admitted to the Mithi civil hospital.
Family members, friends say Dodo Bheel and two other workers were tortured in private cell of company
They family members and friends of murdered worker informed the members of the delegation that Dodo Bheel and other two workers namely Mooro and Gulam Qadir were tortured by the guards of Sindh Thar coal Mining Company in private torture cell for many days on the false charges of stealing wires and some other material.
The family members and friends of the deceased claimed that the accusation was false and fabricated because it was not possible for anyone to steal anything from company as CCTV cameras are operating at short distances and the company has deployed heavy security including a large number of guards along with patrolling of police and army/rangers’ personnel throughout the company in day and night.
The mission met injured worker Mooro, Nirmandas Bheel leader of Bheel Intellectual Forum (BHI), Abdul Aziz Halepota leader of Thar Samaji Tahreek and other local persons who were also present during the visit of the delegation.
INITIAL Post Mortem report showed Dodo HAD 19 torture marks on his body
The father of Dodo Bheel said that the main cause of his death was torture. The (initial) Post Mortem report of Dodo was also showing that there were 19 torture marks on his body.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Mr. Lal Chand Malhi also met BIF Leaders Lajpat Bheel and others arrested under Anti-Terrorism Charge at Mirpur Khas District Jail.
They stated that we were holding a protest peacefully. The police tortured and arrested them. Later, they were taken to an undisclosed location where they were stripped off and video recorded by SSP, Tharparkar himself.
The mission’s report read as, instead of arresting accused of murder of Dodo, the IslamKot police launched an operation cleanup at mid-night against those who held peaceful protest demonstration. Police resorted to heavy shelling on the demonstrators’ and women- majority of were sleeping at that time.
Police lodged FIR against 125 males and around 20/25 females of the Bheel community. Section of terrorism was also included in FIR
It was the first incident of shelling by the police on the public in the history of IslamKot. The Police registered FIR vide number 33/2021 PS IslamKot District Tharparker, on July 05, 2021 against demonstrators including 125 males and around 20/25 females of the Bheel community. Section of terrorism was also included in the FIR and eight Community members were arrested including Lajpat Bheel.
The father or Dodo Bheel named Kerno Bheel, other family members and local commuters demanded to arrest and punish all those responsible and involved in killing of Dodo Bheel.
They also demanded the immediate removal of SSP Tharparker who, instead of offering his duties according to law, influenced the investigation and ordered police to take actions against peaceful protestors.
The family member of Dodo Bheel also informed the mission that the provincial government of Sindh announced a compensation package including financial assistance and jobs to the family of Dodo Bheel, but it was still awaited.
The mission also met another injured worker – Gulam Qadir s/o Hassan Khokhar who was admitted in civil hospital Mithi, in order to gather more details related to the alleged murder Dodo Bheel.
The delegation also held meeting with CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company at Thar Lodges, and visited the site of incident with the members of civil society.
Chairman Board of Directors, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, and CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company refused to meet
The delegation also wanted to meet CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company. But the Mission was later informed that as per the advice of provincial minister of energy Imtiaz Ahned Shaikh, the Chairman Board of Directors, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), the CEO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company refused to meet them.
After the briefing of the SSP Tharparker, Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Mr. Lal Chand Malhi observed that police failed to realize torture on Dodo Bheel. After torture the deceased remained in police custody, judicial custody and taken to hospital but nowhere the torture and condition of Dodo Bheel was taken into account.
Based on the testimonials of the locals and eyewitnesses -the Mission also observed the local police was not only biased towards the workers and labor, but the district police officials were visibly seen trying brush aside the real incident and distract from core issue of torture and illegal confinement of workers.
Families living in financially deplorable conditions
Approximately 150 persons in the area of Dodo Bheel were working in the coal mining company but the delegation observed that their families were living in financially deplorable conditions.
The refusal by CEO SECMC, allegedly on the directions of a minister of Sindh government not to meet a delegation nominated by federal government shows non-serious and non-professional attitude of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and provincial Government of Sindh towards parliamentarians and their unwillingness and partial behavior for providing justice in the murder case of Dodo Bheel, the report said.
Fact-finding mission recommends JIT or Judicial probe
The fact-finding mission in its report recommended to the federal government that investigation of this incident should be done through JIT or Judicial Commission as the parents of Dodo Bheel have no trust in Sindh police investigation and police have lost trust of local people.
SSP and relevant police officers should be replaced and issue a charge sheet against them for mismanagement of Dodo Bheel Case.
The Mission formulated by the Ministry of Human Rights included; Lal Chand Malhi, MNA & Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights, Sunila Ruth, MNA & Parliamentary Secretary for Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony, Chela Ram, Chairman National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and other human rights activists.