They live in fear of the extremists. The minorities, who have no political affiliations, and are yet gunned down because of their beliefs or caught in a crossfire between rivals.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, four people from the minority communities — two Christians, a Sikh and a Hindu — were killed in July, the bloodiest month of the year, while three Hindus from Kalpana’s family died in the rocket attack in August.
Meanwhile, a former provincial lawmaker Michael Javed, claims that since the beginning of the year, around 12 people of minority communities have become victims of Karachi’s violence.
“We stay away from political parties as today’s politics has become very dirty. But sadly, even then we were attacked. On August 17, two gangs were fighting against one another, lobbing grenades at one another. It was our bad luck that a rocket hit our house and innocent people got killed,” said Bhejo, whose sister, Usha, died in the August attack.
The boy, Danesh, was a student of grade 4, while Usha worked as a compounder in a nearby clinic.
“That day the family gathered upstairs as there was firing going around. Usha was cooking food while the rest were huddled around when a rocket suddenly flew in, hit the wall and sent splinters all around. There was blood everywhere, and I saw my brother’s organs come out. My mother keeps on crying the whole day as my brother was the darling of the house,” said Kalpana, adding that the incident had shaken the foundation of the house, and it could collapse anytime.
Miles away from Bheempura, near the Drigh Road are several houses of the Christian community.
On July 23, when the city was on fire, 10-year-old Ghazal, who had been checking out bicycles at a shop, became a victim of the violence when a bullet pierced through her cheek in an act of indiscriminate firing by some political activists.
In a one-room apartment, her mother, Regina Wilson, a former hairdresser, turns teary-eyed, thanking that her daughter escaped death.
Ghazal, lying on the bed with a white dressing around her face, says her injury hurts.
Wilson explains that her daughter is mentally unstable, and on the unfortunate day, she left home without informing her.
She was standing at the bicycle shop when the bullet hit her, but luckily some men reached the spot and took her to the hospital immediately.
The mother says that conditions in the area have worsened since tension has increased between political parties in the adjoining localities.
She said that many political parties have approached the Christian community to join them. “We stay away from the political parties as we know we won’t be treated equally.”
The many holes in the cemented walls of Kalpana’s house haunt her. She returns from a government hospital, where she was being treated for a serious wound on her neck, a month after a rocket fired by gangsters during the violent days in August hit her house.
Karachi: The ongoing violence in Karachi has had its impact on various religious minorities too, including the Hindus, most of whom feel deprived of their rights in a city under siege.
First Published: Saturday, September 24, 2011, 13:08