Within 12 hours of his demise, a Hindu man’s body was pulled out of his grave by a mob in Pangrio city, Badin district, and dragged through the streets. This nauseating spectacle of barbarism and cruelty took place on Sunday. The man’s name was Bhuro Bheel, a local Hindu of Dalit caste, who died in a road accident. He was brought to Civil Hospital Hyderabad where he breathed his last and his body was buried in Haji Faqeer graveyard, as has been the tradition of the community for many years. President of the Sindh Hari Purhyat Council Punhal Sario arrived at the scene and described that the incident was fueled by tensions between the residing Muslim and Hindu communities within Pangrio city. However, after this gruesome crime, hundreds of Bheel supporters came out, including Muslims. But the damage was done.

Hindus and Muslims have been living together in the city for centuries. After the 1947 partition, migration of groups based on religion occurred but it was understood and encouraged by political leaders that interfaith harmony remains alive regardless of communal differences. However, in the past few years, inter-religious stigma has been encouraged and at times been contributed to by local clerics. In the case of Pangrio city, Punhal Sario stated that local clerics incited the mob against Bheel’s burial and instigated the removal of his body from the graveyard. This is precisely the root of such intolerance; when clerics use religion to divide previously peacefully existing communities against each other. There is a desperate need to call for empathy. In the heartbreaking case of Bheel’s body displaced from his final rest, a community that has been living harmony with each other, is now living in an atmosphere of fear and persecution because of the mischief of a few. Traditions in Pakistan that have maintained good relations between neighbours of different faiths, creeds and casts are now being deliberately replaced by close-minded and brutal oppression in the name of religion.

Staying mindful of how Pakistan’s diverse and dynamic demographic consists of multiple religions and ethnic groups, it would be disastrous to remain apathetic to the plight of minorities hit by dogmatism in the country. The culprits behind the desecration of Bheel’s grave must be brought to justice swiftly, and efforts made to heal the hurt and trauma this has caused the community. Such intolerance and indignity has no place in Pakistan.