Saleem Masih, 22, Christian laborer, who was brutally tortured by local landowners in Kasur three days ago on accusations that he had ‘polluted’ their tube-well water by bathing in it, succumbed to his injuries on Friday.
Saleem Masih, a 22-year-old in the city of Kasur in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was allegedly tortured to death by local landlords after they accused him of ‘polluting’ the water he bathed in.
Two days after the attack, on February 27, Saleem was brought to a hospital in critical condition but succumbed to his injuries, according to a report by Pakistan Today, an English-language daily in the country.
Saleem had reportedly finished unloading chaff in fields and was rinsing himself off in the tube-well when a group of men rushed over and yanked him out of the water and began beating him, his father Ghafoor Masih was quoted as saying, according to the Pakistan Today report.
The victim’s father also said that Saleem claimed that the group of men who attacked him abused and cursed him for being a “filthy Christian”.
Reportedly, the abusers dragged Saleem 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,” Ghafoor was quoted as saying.
Ghafoor also said that the family was informed about the incident by police officials four hours after his son was taken hostage and tortured.
“When we reached the cattle farm, we found Saleem lying unconscious on the ground, his face and body bloodied,” he said.
Police ‘acted like spectators’
Reportedly, Saleem’s family had to plead to the landowners allegedly responsible for the incident to take the unconscious man while police “acted like spectators”.
Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Ejaz Alam Augustine commented on the incident and said that stern action would be taken against the perpetrators and the police officials concerned, according to Pakistan Today.
Social media outrage
After the incident came to light, social media users were left furious. Many used the hashtag #JusticeForSaleemMasih to speak out about the incident involving Saleem and abuse against religious minorities in Pakistan.
One such user, @ainee_2010, wrote: “Another incident from #Kasur: A Christian labourer, Saleem Masih was brutally tortured to death by local landowners in Chunian, Kasur on Feb 25 on accusations that he had ‘polluted’ their tube-well water by bathing in it. Spread the word to demand #JusticeForSaleemMasih.”