SUKKUR: Federal Min­ister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah received a joint representative delegation of the Hindu Panchayat Committee (HPC) and Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association to hear their grievances after they held a demonstration outside his residence here on Sunday.

He held out the assurance that their farmlands and lives would be protected from ‘land mafia’ allegedly threatening them in the Salehpat area.

The delegation along with a number of peasants, landowners and traders gathered outside Mr Shah’s residence to convey to him that the ‘land mafia’ was harassing them, eying their lands and threatening to dispossess them. They raised slogans against the excesses and called for official protection.

They also raised slogans against the district and town administrations for having left them at the mercy of the ‘mafia’.

The minister allowed the delegation into his residence and heard their grievances. They told him that some unscrupulous elements supported by certain influential figures of Salehpat were bent upon occupying their agricultural lands. “They are threatening us with dire consequences if we continued to cultivate our lands,” they said.

They informed the minister that Hindu landowners and traders had held protests in Salehpat over their excesses and intention to grab their lands after which the ‘mafia’ had not only forced them to stop doing their businesses but had also made Salehpat and their own lands a ‘no-go area’ for them.

They appealed to the federal minister and Sindh government to take measures for the protection of their lives and properties.

The minister assured the delegation that Sindh government would not only ensure protection of the Hindu community, but would also take action against anyone who tried to harass or harm their members or traders in Salehpat.

Mr Shah encouraged them to continue with their business and farming activities in the area without any fear.

The HPC representatives included Mahesh Kumar, Ludo Mal, Ishwar Lal Makhija and Tello Mal.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2022

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