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Thari Dodas Are Seeking Justice

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Tharparkar is suffering from a serious turmoil of illiteracy, unemployment, severe global warming issues, and especially the caste system. A week ago, one of the workers of SECMC (Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company) was brutally tortured and later murdered by the company’s guards. Dodo Bheel was tormented along with his two other colleagues because of an allegation of stealing scrap from the store of Thar Coal Mining Block-II.

Looking back on the project of coal mining, the first thing stabbing in our minds is global warming and its impact on health. Tharparkar is the only district in Sindh which had zero employment ratio before these mining projects were initiated. Our governments never thought that we had nothing; our fields were destroyed because of drought conditions and lack of agriculture policy. We were poor and unknown to the world and therefore, no foreign aid or so called funding could our district receive. There has not been a single visit of leaders except during election days, and no route infrastructure. In a nutshell, the district had no water, gas, or electricity. So was the situation of Tharparkar before coal projects.

The support that coal mining companies got from locals was because of prospective employment opportunities, infrastructure, schools, and electricity. Their hopes and aspirations later became their weakness. They were often exploited and subjected to inhumane treatment. Case in point is Dodo Bheel who was part of the housekeeping team. He was first tortured by guards and after his condition became critical, an FIR was filed against him on charges of theft. Dodo Bheel died in the civil hospital Hyderabad. A post-mortem report revealed that 19 sharp marks were found on his body. A human lost his life because of a mere allegation.

When the dead body of Dodo Bheel was handed over to the family, a protest was held on that day in Islamkot and later in different cities of Tharparkar including, Mithi, Diplo, Naukot, Kaloi, and several other areas. The SSP of Tharparkar assured of justice to the bereaved family.

After a long protest, in the late long periods of Sunday evening, police abruptly moved right into it. The police began rod charging the non conformists while capturing a portion of the 150 dissenters who were booked under specific segments of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Pakistan Penal Code. Neighborhood journalists reported that around 50 of the protesters had some direct relations with PTI pioneer Lajpat Soorani. Reports from Islamkot mentioned that police turned to teargas shelling causing disarray and frenzy. Various individuals were harmed. Different activists of various groups and parties gathered in Mithi on Monday. They censured the unjustifiable police activity against dissidents and the media workforce. They said that women and kids were among those affected by heavy handedness of police.

The activists and representatives of different parties regretted that the police didn’t lay hands on the suspects even after PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari gave orders to settle the matter calmly and agreeably. They welcomed the order of the Sindh High Court asking the Mirpurkhas DIG and Thar SSP to appear before court on July 13 to clarify their positions in regards to the supposed homicide.

It ought to be noted that it’s not a single case as there have been many similar situations. From Karachi to Kashmore, Sadiqabad to Sialkot, and from Hub to Mand – many cities have witnessed the state’s heavy handedness and brutal attitude of the police.

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Naya Daur