On the call of newly formed Thar Samaji Tehreek, residents of several villages of Islamkot taluka took out a rally from Siraj Petrol Pump to Islamkot Press Club on Monday to protest against the atrocities of the officials of the coal mining firms. The participants of the rally staged the demonstration outside the press club for several hours to press the concerned high-ups to take notice of their peaceful protest and to stop torture on the local people . A large number of participants including women were carrying banners and placards inscribed with the slogans in favour of their demands. The leaders of the protesting villagers talking to the media persons lamented that the officials of coal mining companies had made a number of the commitments with them ahead of carrying out the open -pit mining and power generations but they all were yet to be materialised. “The workers and indigenous people are being kidnapped by the companies’ guards and are beating up brutally under false charges,” they added. A village Hassan Khokhar, while addressing the protesters, said his son Gulam Qadir Khokhar was severely beaten up by a guard. Resultantly, his health has badly been affected. He demanded justice for his injured son adding he warned to take extreme steps to register his protest if the officials involved in the gruesome incident were not taken to task. Hafiz Mohammad Ramazan said he was a resident of Block-2, where their lands were forcefully occupied by the officials of the mining firm in order to provide grazing land to the residents of New Senhri Dars. ” Several villagers were booked in fake cases and were arrested by the local police on the behest of the officials to pressure them to stop protesting against them” he added. He said that villagers were being made rivals of each other after the officials handed over their grazing lands to the residents of New Senhri Dars . He made it clear that they would not hand over their lands to the company at any cost. Professor Fateh Mohammad Samoon, said he was threatened by the company officials for not becoming part of an activity of the mining company The convener of Thar Samaji Tehreek, Abdul Aziz Qadri, said they had formed the forum to get the issues of people resolved. He said that the people would continue their peaceful movement until their issues were resolved. A villager Rano Bheel said that they were shown fake and false dreams in the name of so-called development but nothing had changed their lifestyle. ‘Instead they were facing displacement from their villages and devastation of their environment and ecology. , he said, wowing that they would not fall prey to any charming slogans. A resident from Katan village, Nihal Mehranpoto, said that his village was also affected by the wastewater from Gorano Dam but their residents were not compensated by the Sindh government. Lands of several villagers came under the saline water while their wells were becoming saline because of wastewater from the Gorano Dam. However, affected people of other villages were provided with annual compensation of Rs100,000 each, but no compensation was given to the villagers of Katan. Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, Convenor of Pakistan Eco-social Movement also addressed participants of the rally and demonstration said that mining companies had already crossed all limits of decency and were forcibly evicting the people from their centuries-old villages without giving the proper compensation of the royalty of their resources . He said that the movement would not only work for the environment but would also seek justice for the poor people of Thar by pressuring the executives and officials of the firm’s. Mr Shah said that the officials engaged in coal extraction in Block 1 of Thar Coalfields had made the lives of Tharis miserable adding he warned them to mend their ways. While, PPP MPA from Islamkot, Fakeer Sher Mohammad Bilalani taking the strong notice of the torture on laboueres expressed his deep concerns and grief and asked the officials of Block 1 of Thar Coalfields to mend their ways. The PPP MPA said that he would take up the matter of the excesses of the officials with Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah adding he said nobody would be allowed to commit atrocities on the people of Thar. He said that it was a very sad incident that three persons were brutally tortured by the guards on the orders of the officials. He made it clear that companies were meant to extract coal and generate power but officials were harassing and committing brutalities on the local people. Responding to the queries, Mr Mohsin Babbar, spokesperson of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) said that the mining company was a law abiding company and claims about alleged torture of workers were completely baseless. He said, theft incidents at Thar Block-II were being reported for quite sometime and few contractors including Chinese companies working in Block-2 had reported theft of valuable material from their premises. He further stated that one of the companies had referred the matter to local police and subsequently the matter was investigated by Tharparkar Police. On the basis of their investigation area police apprehended the culprits as per their legal and administrative procedures and an FIR was also registered by an official of the private firm, he added. The spokesperson further said that SECMC had and always would lookout for the interests and social uplifting of the local people. Under this policy, he said all surrounding villages of Block II had been provided with all the basic facilities including drinking water, Healthcare and quality education along with livelihood opportunities for thousands of local Thari people.