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In Generation of Peacemakers,Kaleem Shahzad

17 Years Old Student was beaten to death for Drinking Water

Sharoon Masih, a young intelligent boy who was beaten to death for drinking water by fellow student “Muhammad Ahmed Rana”, a class fellow along with a couple of other students, for being a Christian.

Sharoon was doing extremely well in his previous school in (village) Chak 461 EB. Due to outstanding result in class 8 final examinations, his teachers encouraged his parents to let him continue his studies. He got admittion in MC Model Boys Government High School Burewala of District Vehari. However Sharoon was not able to adjust in the hostile environment.

Although Elyab Masih, Sharoon’s father is without a job for the last eight months, still he wanted his son to study and used his savings to get Sharoon’s admission to school. To meet the hardships of life Sharoon too used to do manual labor while continuing his studies so his parents could not feel the burden.

In this government School, From the very first day of school Sharoon was mistreated by the teachers and class fellows especially Muhammad Ahmed Rana, said Sharoon’s family. His paternal uncle Liaquat speaking to The Nation said, “Sharoon complained to his father that the teacher had slapped him for not wearing a uniform and was told to stand in the sun for the whole day. His father had said that Sharoon should take off from school the next day; he took a loan of Rs.2,000 to buy his son the school uniform and told him that he would talk to the Principal the next day. But it was too late, he was killed that day.”

When asked what happened on that day Liaqat said, “We don’t know for sure what happened but some students say Ahmed tried to stop Sharoon’s path first then they had an argument on mobile phone which led to a fight and resulted in his death. When the fight broke out some students went to the teachers to tell them what was happening but no one came to see, rather said we are drinking tea go away.”

Regarding religious discrimination Liaquat said, “On first day of school Sharoon told us that kids at school were not letting him drink water from the same glass as he was a Christian. Later they started calling him a ‘chura’ (a derogatory term for sweeper). We believe this would have been one of the reasons for his death.”

As for the police and politicians of the area, Liaquat said no one came to them after Sharoon’s death as they are siding with the other party. “We vote for these people but no one came to help us. Police is also not helping, they are not taking any action against principal of the school.”

No one from the school administration came forward to explain what happened exactly in school that day. According to Mehwish Bhatti of BPCA, “There were about 40 teachers and over a thousand children who did not come forward to save Sharoon. All the teachers gave ten different statements to the police and family. No one from the administration is coming out with the truth, while the students say that Sharoon was beaten by Muhammad Ahmed Rana. When asked why no one came to save him they said that Ahmed was too powerful for anyone to handle.”

According to Sharoon’s parents Ahmed is much older to be a student of class 9. Sharoon was taken to the hospital by the students, no teacher took responsibility. When Sharoon’s mother reached the hospital the doctor said that he died in the hospital. But the students refuted and said that he had died on spot on being beaten up. Sharoon was killed because of his religious belief.

Despite attempts by Pakistani authorities to improve the lives of minorities, the persecution and discrimination they face seems to have increased over the last decade.

“This killing of a young Christian teenager at school, serves only to remind us that hatred towards religious minorities starts at a young age. It is transferred from one generation to another through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum.”

This news has been making rounds on the social media but so far the state and law authoritieshave not reacted to it, as in the case of Mashal Khan, who was killed by fellow students in Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan.

The state must ensure that all citizens must be treated equally, regardless of caste or their religion. This religious hate only can be removed from the root system of every human being, we will teach this generation about humanity and equality.

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