When Naseeba Bheel of Haryar village, Mithi (Tharparkar) took her goats for grazing in the fields, she encountered Thakur Bijju of the other clan who lived alongside her’s in the area. Naseeba says Bijju grabbed her arm and tried to force himself on her, but when she started screaming and shouting for help the villagers immediately came and caught Bijju in the act and handed him over to the police.
Members of the Bheel community in other villages, including Naseeba’s husband Teerat Bheel, have expressed their dismay that when the accused was arrested and handed over to the police, he was let off at the behest of a ruling party MPA. Even after two days, no FIR was registered. Earlier, the Bheel Intellectual Forum (BIF) in Mithi organized a protest on Thursday, July 23 against the demolition of their houses.
On the other hand, Thakur Tejamal, a cousin of Thakur Bijju Singh, said that it was just a fabricated story and nothing had happened. He said that the matter was being given too much attention through the Bheel Intellectual Forum.
Thousands of voters of the Bheel and the Thakur community live in the districts of Tharparkar and Umerkot. In both these districts, and in most of the villages, the Thakurs and Bheels have been living together for decades. The Thakurs are the upper caste and have been ruling over the lower caste Bheels. But this situation has not been the same since the formation of BIF and the socio-economic transformation of communities in Tharparkar during the last two decades. A clear example of this is that on July 13, both the Bheel and the Thakur communities met with government officials. Thousands of people, including women and children, marched for 12 km from Malhnar village to Pangrio stop in Mithi town and protested against the abuse of MPAs and demolition of their houses.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, SSP Mithi Hassan Sardar said that there was no political pressure in the Naseeba case. The SHO and DSP of Cheelhar police conducted an investigation that found that no such incident had taken place. Such a story had been made up which was common when there was land or property involved.
Eventually, whether it is a matter of Naseeba’s fate, or of the Bheel community houses in Malnhar village, political personalities, local influential people have remained silent. Asad Butt of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) told Voicepk.net that there is a problem of ego or stubborn behavior on the part of the two clashing communities.
Bheels were constantly building houses for themselves using the land in the places where animals used to be tied up, and which the Thakurs were not allowed, he said. The two communities were constantly trying to downplay each other.
Asad Iqbal added that Bheels had been kept under the thumb of the ruling Thakurs for centuries, but the Bheel community has been educating children despite their poverty. Forum is formed and upper caste people including Thakursare facing resistance