A fact-finding mission appointed by the Human Rights Ministry called on Tuesday for filing charge sheet against the top police officials of the Thar district of Sindh over the mismanagement of the murder case of Dodo Bheel over a month ago.
In its report, released on Tuesday, the fact-finding mission accused the company engaged in the security of coalmine of misusing its authority and recommended the probe into the murder case either by a joint investigation team (JIT) or a judicial commission.
Bheel died on July 1. His family had alleged that he was subjected "intense torture" for several days by the company guards over allegation of theft. Bheel was reportedly handed over to the Islamkot police in critical condition, while he died during treatment at the Civil Hospital, Hyderabad.
The fact-finding committee’s report said that the steps taken by the security company were an expression of distrust in the police and the criminal justice system, adding that the police had lost the trust of the locals people.
It added that the senior superintended of police (SSP) and the police officers concerned should be replaced for mismanagement of the case and charge-sheet should be issued against them, while Compensation for Bheel and 2 other injured should be released by Sindh government immediately.
The report said that the security staff of the coal mining company should have reported the theft case to the local police instead of taking action on their own. Instead, the security staff imprisoned the workers at their own premises, thus presenting an image of running a torture cell there.
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It further said that the company had also failed to establish a mechanism and system to prevent abuse of power by its staff members. “It has shown a lack of confidence in the law and the police and the criminal justice system.”
Based on the testimonies of the locals and eyewitnesses, the mission observed that the local police were not only biased towards the workers and labourers, but the senior officers were directly or indirectly aware of the violence and abuse of the workers by private security staff.
The fact-finding mission’s report mentioned that the SSP even went on to claim that the protest by the family and friends of the deceased was a conspiracy by the enemies of the country against a national strategic project.
“The use of force against protesters was unjustified,” the report said, adding that filing a case against peaceful protesters under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) was “a police act that cannot be accepted”. It said that the police also used inappropriate force against the protesting media persons.
The report noted that the human rights, labour and other laws were not being enforced or properly enforced by certain elements within the company and urged the Sindh and the federal governments to ensure that these laws were properly enforced.
The report said that about 150 people were working in the coal mining company in Dodo Bheel’s area but the delegation observed that their families were living in pitiable conditions. There was no sign of prosperity in the area of ‘Aban Jo Tar’, Islamkot.
(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)