Several members of the minority Hindu community were attacked and forced out of their homes in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province after a boy drank water from a facility outside a mosque.

About 60 Hindu men, women and children were recently forced to abandon their homes at Memon Goth in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, after influential tribesmen of the area objected to the boy drinking water from a cooler.

“All hell broke loose when my son, Dinesh, who looks after chickens in a farm, drank water from a cooler outside a mosque. Upon seeing him do that, the people of the area started beating him up,” a Hindu man named Meerumal told The News daily.

“Later, around 150 tribesmen attacked us, injuring seven of our people — Samo, Mohan, Hero, Chanu, Sadu, Heera, and Guddi — who were taken to the Jinnah Hospital,” he said.

The Hindus who were forced out of their homes have taken refuge in a cattle pen.

One of the injured, Heera, said about 400 Hindu families are being threatened to vacate the area.

“Our people are even scared of going out of their houses. We are also putting up with living in the filthy (cattle) pen because we cannot go home for fear of being killed,” said Heera, who too is living in a cattle shed.

“A trivial incident led to riots between the people of the area. Since both the communities happened to be illiterate, the matter just flared up,” said the chief of Memon Goth police station.

However, he dismissed claims about a lack of security for the Hindu community in the area and said that they could go back to their homes any time they wanted.

Sindh’s Minority Affairs Minister Mohan Lal has assured the Hindu community that it will receive full government protection.

“I have directed the (district police chief) and the SHO to ensure that these people go back to their houses safely,” he said.

Mr. Lal said the culprits would be dealt with severely.

More In: International | News