Civil society continues protest in Karachi against Sindh govt's 'failure to ensure rights of minorities'

Updated September 18, 2019

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Civil society members gathered at Teen Talwar in Karachi on Wednesday to protest against the death of a medical student in Larkana. — Photo courtesy Jibran Nasir's Twitter account
Civil society members gathered at Teen Talwar in Karachi on Wednesday to protest against the death of a medical student in Larkana. — Photo courtesy Jibran Nasir's Twitter account

Civil society activists and members of the Hindu community held a protest in Karachi's Clifton area on Wednesday against the Sindh government's "failure to ensure the rights of minority citizens".

Protestors staged a sit-in at Teen Talwar and carried banners inscribed with slogans calling for the provision of justice for Dr Nimrita Chandani, who was found dead at a medical college in Larkana.

A large number of real estate agents were among the protestors in a show of support for Nimrita's father, who is a real estate agent, said South SSP Sheeraz Nazeer.

Others included civil society activist Mohammed Jibran Nasir, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Zakir Mahenti, and PTI MNA Ramesh Kumar.

The protest, which began in the evening, continued till late into the night. It was called off temporarily — with a resolve to begin again on Thursday — after assurances were given by the government that a meeting will be held between the protestor delegation and the law advisor.

"Protest for #JusticeForNimerta & #GhotkiTemple will begin again tomorrow at #TeenTalwar at 5pm. Protest was temporarily called off today after assurance from Govt that Advisor Law will meet protestors delegation tomorrow. Protest will begin at 5pm and continue till demands are met," said Nasir in a post on Twitter.

The main Clifton road was "partially" closed for traffic due to the protest, said SSP Nazeer. He added that the protesters were staging the sit-in at the side of the main road, therefore, the traffic was not diverted on alternative roads.

Nimrita, a BDS final-year student at Bibi Aseefa Dental College, Larkana was found dead in her hostel on Sept 16. The protesters have termed it as "a murder of a student belonging to the Hindu community".

They have demanded a judicial inquiry led by a judge of Sindh High Court into the death of the student. They have also urged the government to suspend the hostel warden and demand the issuance of a show cause notice to the vice chancellor of the medical university in Larkana.

The protestors have also called attention to the riots in Ghotki this week over an alleged blasphemy incident, in which a Hindu temple was vandalised and called for a judicial inquiry into the temple's desecration.

Nasir has complained of the provincial government's failure to take concrete action over the riots in Ghotki as well as Nimrita's death. He has also complained of the lack of a commission being formed to probe the Ghotki incident and Nimrita's case being forwarded to the sessions judge in Larkana, despite the assurance that a high court judge would take up the matter.

"Sindh Govt fails to keep promise #JusticeForNimerta #GhotkiTemple. No commission announced for attack on Ghotki Temple and Session Judge directed to investigate Nimerta case while High Court Judge was committed," he wrote in protest on Twitter.

Sindh government’s home department on Wednesday requested the district and sessions judge in Larkana to conduct a "judicial enquiry" into the matter and furnish a report within 30 days "for taking further necessary action", according to an official notification.

On Tuesday night, the first demonstration calling attention to the protection of the rights of minorities was held at the same venue. It was brought to a halt when the authorities assured the protestors that a judicial probe would be ordered to ascertain the circumstances that led to the student's death.

Nasir while talking to media yesterday said that they had gathered "to demand justice for the medical student, action against the persons who desecrated the temple in Ghotki and forced conversion of Hindu girls".

He had criticised the political leadership and others who "meet with ‘Mian Mithoo’" (Mian Abdul Haq), a former PPP MNA from Ghotki who has been accused of being involved in the "forced conversion" of Hindu girls

Mangla Sharma, an MQM-P MPA who also joined the protest on Tuesday night, told Dawn today that the protesters were demanding "a judicial inquiry and a fair probe into the death of the girl and desecration of the temple (in Ghotki)".

The Sindh Assembly lawmaker said that it was also their demand to remove the vice chancellor of the medical university in Larkana as she allegedly gave an "irresponsible statement" when she said that the student had committed suicide without waiting for the findings of a proper probe into the matter.

Sharma further alleged that the VC, during her meeting in Ghotki with the relatives of the victim, also "misbehaved" with the media and others.