A mob attacked Christians including children over church property dispute, in village nestled in District Kasur. The victims attempted to protect the under-construction St. Mathew’s Catholic Church, which serves about 40 Christian families of the village. Local Christians are bearing the expenses of the construction of the church building stood up against landlord’s attempts of seize the land by force.
Details emerged that the church property was eyed by a local landlord who wanted to use the land for cultivation. International Christian Concern (ICC) quotes a local Christian Bashir Masih: “A charged mob of over 50 Muslim men, led by Mukhtar Ahmad, a local Muslim, attacked the Christians at Waran Chak Balyana village in Kasur on August 2, 2018.
Ahmad, a local landlord carries a dispute with the local Christians over a piece of land for years…The lower court of Kasur has already issued ‘stay-order’ for the piece of land for both the parties in January 2018 which will expire on 17th of the next month. However, the Muslim family wanted to grab the church property using their social and religious pressure.”
Two of the victims were severely injured, as one of them 18-year-old, Christian girl received stitches on her lips along with 10-year-old Christian boy whose arm bone sustained a fracture as a result of the assault.
ICC further quoted another victim Barkat Masih who said: “On August 2, 2018, Ahmad tried to cultivate a piece of land with a tractor which belongs to the church. The local Christians requested him not to violate court orders, however, Ahmad abused the Christians and passed derogatory remarks against the church, stating, ‘Building a church is nonsense.’ Within no time, Ahmad’s armed companions attacked the Christian men, women, and children with arms and sticks. They left two seriously injured and other with minor injuries. The mob stoned the under-construction church as well.”
Christian villagers complained that the police tried to pressurize them in order to remain silent; they claimed that police refused to register an FIR against the alleged culprit. They were warned not to publicize the incident. “When the Christians complained to the police about the attack, the police officials ordered them to keep quiet and avoid mentioning it as a religious issue. The police were unfair in the matter,” locals told ICC.