Christian killed for using water from a well in Pakistan
A 22 year-old young man was tortured to death in the village of Chunian, close to Lahore. Local landowners attacked Saleem Masih for bathing in their tube-well and brutally abused him.
On February 25, Saleem was so brutally beaten that he has succumbed to his injuries three days later in the Lahore General Hospital.
“On Feb 25, Saleem had finished unloading chaff in fields in Baguyana village and was rinsing himself off in the tube-well when a group of men, including Sher Dogar, Iqbal, Altaf, Jabbar and Haji Muhammad rushed over, yanked him out of the water and began beating him,” Saleem’s father Ghafoor Masih told Pakistan Today.
“They cursed and abused Saleem for ‘polluting’ the water, calling him a ‘filthy Christian,’” Masih claimed, adding that the attackers then dragged the young man to their cattle farm, where they chained his hands and feet and continued to torture him with sticks and rods. “They also rolled a thick iron rod over Saleem’s entire body, causing multiple fractures and internal injuries.”
Speaking to Agenzia Fides, Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for Social Communications said that “we strongly condemn the brutal killing of Saleem Masih: this act of discrimination and prejudice reveals the ignorance and the maximum level of intolerance of the people involved in the killing of young Christians”.
“It is sad to know that a person is killed for having washed himself at a well, on charges of having polluted the water in the well. Saleem was washing himself after working in the agricultural fields.
It is urgent to change this mentality: we must treat everyone as human beings, but many people are full of hatred towards non-Muslims. Now another human being has been killed”, Fr. Qaisar added.
Commenting the incident, Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Ejaz Alam Augustine said that “our first priority was to save the young man’s life and I had directed the hospital authorities to ensure best medical treatment to him. Now the nature of the case has changed and murder charge will be added to the FIR”.
According to the claim of Saleem’s family, the torture and abuse had had clearly a religious motivation to which Augustine replied that the incident was a result of the mindset that prevails in society:
“No law can change such a mindset. The government is trying to promote tolerance for the other faiths but it is an uphill task that cannot be achieved overnight”, he said.
International Christian Concern’s regional manager said that none should be intimidated or killed based on religious motivations, adding that Saleem’s family deserves justice and the Pakistani authorities must take action aganist intoleration.
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