22 September 2012
Discrimination: ‘Police beat me up for drinking from their glass’
LAHORE: A Christian worker at a veterinary dispensary building shared by a police post has accused two police officials of beating and humiliating him for drinking water from a glass used by the policemen.
Nisar Masih, assistant at the Veterinary Dispensary at Jandiala in the Narang Mandi police area, told The Express Tribune that he had filed an application on August 4 to the Sheikhupura regional police officer (RPO) against ASI Rana Raees Ahmed, the police post in charge and constable Muhammad Sarfaraz for beating him up for drinking water from a glass he found in front of the former’s office.
According to the complaint, Sarfaraz took Nisar Masih to the office of Ahmed on seeing him drink water from the office cooler. Ahmed asked Nisar Masih about his religion. When he responded that he was a Christian, Ahmed remarked, “How dare you drink from a Muslim’s glass?” Ahmed then asked Nisar Misih to sit. When he sat in a chair, Ahmed admonished him, “How dare you sit on a chair? Sit on the ground.” Masih said Ahmed also abused and beat him. His ordeal only ended when dispensary incharge Dr Mohsin Farooq Hashmi and two other colleagues pleaded with Ahmed to secure his release. Nisar Masih said, “I approached former MPA Chaudhry Wajid Ali on July 29 to request action against the police officials. He informed the concerned DSP and also forwarded a written complaint.” He said he had stopped going to work since the incident fearing another beating.
ASI Ahmed told The Tribune he had had no objection to Nisar Maseeh sharing their glass when he did not know he was a Christian. “On July 28, there was a complaint and I called him to my office and asked him about his religion. He said he was a Christian, I asked, ‘How come he drinks from a glass used by Muslims?… Christians can’t use utensils used by Muslims.”
He denied that he had abused or beaten Nisar Maseeh. Instead, he said he had complained against him to Dr Hashmi. Ahmed said, “Dr Hashmi said he had no objection to sharing utensils with Christians… I told him to not let him drink water from our glass.” He said I have given the glass to Nisar Maseeh and asked him not to use the new glass.
Chaudhry Wajid Ali said he believed that Maseeh had been humiliated and beaten on account of his religious beliefs. He said the DSP had not responded to his complaint.
Speaking to The Tribune on August 9, DSP Ahsan Ilahi Khokhar said he was posted to the Muridke police circle recently and had not been told of the incident. “We will take action according to law if an excess is made out,” said Khokhar.
However, DSP Khokhar on August 31 denied either being aware of the incident or receiving any application of about the incident.
RPO Zulfiqar Cheema also said he did not remember any such application but he would pursue the matter and would bring the delinquent police officials to book. Chaudhry Wajid said he had given the application to DSP Khokhar and RPO Cheema and that they were deliberately lying.
Pakistan Ulema Council chief Tahir Ashrafi said such an act by a police official was condemnable. He said there was no religious restriction on Muslim to use utensils used by non-Muslims, including Christians. He said if the ASI in question did not like drinking water from a glass used by a Christian, he should have washed it. “However, there is no need to wash it either,” Ashrafi said.
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