LAHORE: Hindu community of Haroonabad area has been asked to vacate their houses by local administration. This is allegedly being done due to pressure from owners of a housing scheme. They want to build front gate of housing scheme by demolishing the houses of Hindus, who have been living there for last three decades.

A protest demonstration was held on Thursday in Haroonabad to urge the Punjab government to take action in this regard and to stop the local administration from getting their houses vacated.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Assistant Commissioner of District Haroonabad Anjum Zehra issued notices to dozens of Hindu families living in Haroonabad, a tehsil of Bahawalnagar district, to vacate their homes by June 28.

According to notification copy which is available with The Nation the residents of Chak 72/4R have been addressed ‘…you people have been living here at Jarnali Sarak (The Grand Trunk Road) illegally for a long time and it has been notified on June 13, 2017 that these houses will be vacated because you are illegal occupants of this property.”

“In other case the government property will be vacated with government’s force,” the notification said.

Daas Ram a resident of Chak 72/R told The Nation on phone that we were facing the wrath of housing society owners who want to demolish their houses. He alleged administration with an under hand agreement with housing society wants to demolish the houses.

Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Z) and MNA from NA-191 (Bahawalnagar-IV) Ijazul Haq said that he will look into the matter and provide complete assistance to people. “These people are living there for quite a long time and we will resolve this matter,” he maintained.

Society of Hindu Balmiki Mandar (SHBM) president (Haroonabad) Harbans Lal Sultani said that the Hindu families had been living in the area for the last 30 years after the Bahawalnagar commissioner allowed them to construct homes at the government's land called 'Jurnaili Murabba' in 1987.

"In 1987, the then Bahawalnagar's commissioner allowed us in writing to settle on the land on an application moved by 69 Hindu families who were employed by local government on contract basis," he added,

"The rest of the paper work for allotment of five marlas to each Hindu family was completed in the tenure of Pakistan People's Party in 1995 when a 'misl' (revenue record of land and property) was made in favour of the Hindu families."

Sultani said that the members of Hindu community built their houses after allotment of land located in Chak number 72-4/R. "However, now the Haroonabad assistant commissioner has issued notices to all Hindu families to vacate their homes."

He called upon the federal government and Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif to direct authorities concerned not to get the land vacated.