Lahore [Pakistan], July 7 (ANI): The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday said it is outraged to learn that the Bheel community, which has been protesting against the alleged torture of a labourer was baton-charged and teargassed by police.
An HRCP release said that a labourer named Dodo Bheel was tortured by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company's security guards. The workers and their relatives had been holding sit-ins and demonstrations since Bheel's death.
The rights commission has supported the protestors' demands for an immediate and impartial inquiry into Bheel's death.
"The arrest of protestors under the Anti-Terrorist Act is to be condemned as a case of custodial overreach. The right to protest peacefully is a constitutional right that must be upheld," the HRCP statement said.
The ongoing protest in Islamkot over the recent death of Bheel community worker has intensified with demonstrations spreading to other cities including Tharparkar and Mirpurkhas after police moved to suppress the stir.
Dawn reported that Dodo Bheel, a labourer hired by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) was one of the several workers detained by some security guards of the company for 14 days for interrogation over theft of scrap from a store in the Thar Coal project's Block-II, according to the bereaved family.
The family alleges that the security guards subjected the victim, besides other detained labourers, to intense torture and handed him over to the Islamkot police when his condition turned critical.
The campaign was suspended last Friday after local politicians and police authorities assured them that the suspects, nominated in the FIR, would be arrested. However, they resumed the protest on Saturday evening as the suspects were not arrested.
As many as eight security guards were detained for interrogation but the Bheel community came to know that those nominated in the FIR were not among them, Dawn reported.
According to the publication, in the late hours of Sunday, police moved into action and started baton-charging the protesters and tried to arrest some of the 150 protesters booked under certain sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Pakistan Penal Code.
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday constituted a committee comprising three ministers to hold a probe into the whole affair and submit a report at the earliest. (ANI)