Karachi: September 7, 2018. (PCP) A 2nd year chemical engineering student and resident of KDA 2, Mehmoodabad, Karachi, was beaten so badly by a mob of young Muslim men accompanied by an Islamic cleric, that he lost his sight. The mob using rods, clips and stick to beat the young man then stoned him outside his home.
On the 18th August 2018 at approximately 11:30 p.m. Vikram Alvin (25 yrs), was beaten till unconscious by 26 local Muslim men and an Islamic cleric outside his home. His neighbors use bigoted and abusive language against him as the swarm of 27 surrounded the family home and beat Vikram Alvin. When Vikram's father Alvin John (48 yrs), and brother, Sunil Alvin (23 yrs), saw what was happening they came out to rescue him but the mob pummeled all three of them with sticks, bricks and stones. The attackers were from all ages and in their display of contempt for good measure a few young boys threw stones at their house.
The brutal attack left Vikram Alvin severely injured with blood clots behind his eyes that have left him unable to see. Doctors have said that they do not expect his sight to return. A visit to one of Pakistan's best hospitals, Aga Khan Hospital was demoralising when doctors told the family of Vikram Alvin that he was incurable due to a lack of medical expertise. Doctors advised that there is some potential treatment that could be received via specialist hospitals in Malaysia and Turkey where medical treatment might restore partial sight to his left eye. Vikram Alvin's family have been told that there are no specialists who can perform this type of surgery in Pakistan.
The attack outside Mr Alvin's home came after a series of altercations with members of the local Muslim community who did not want to have a Christian family in the neighbourhood. Since moving to the area local Muslims have been trying to force out the Christian family. Neighbours had been tormenting the family and verbally harassing them in order to get them to move out of the community even though the family had only been living in that area for 8 months. The family had been warned that they would be killed if they did not leave the area but refused to move as they had no other options, having already moved from the Drigh Road area of Karachi following previous persecution.
When living at Drigh Road the family had been running a transportation business providing private bus services through the hire of vehicles. But recently, Karachi has been going through severe gang warfare and political violence from a political party named MQM who were forcing Christians to pay extortion to them. When the family failed to pay their regular payment they found themselves targeted for violence and abuse. The last straw was when gun shots were fired at their vehicle as the angst against them got out of control.
The brutal and harshly rendered hatred of their assault is clear, Christians are considered haram or unclean in the culture, so much so that in another BPCA story we reported about how some neighbours feared a church building in their neighbourhood would defile their community to such an extent that it would "make their ladies and families insecure" in that living next to a church would make their daughters unmarriageable! (click here)This violent assault upon this family is not in any way a land dispute or related to criminal gangs, but a direct act of persecution by neighbours because this is a Christian family.
Vikram Alvin, said: "I can't believe this has happened to me. I was going to complete my studies in Mechancal engineering this year and now that opportunity has been taken away from me. After completing my course, I had a job lined up with a large firm but the stable future I saw before me is now fraught with uncertainty.
"I have done nothing to deserve such treatment I only stayed faithful to God, yet these evil men began to be jealous of the success of our family and the hatred they have for our faith boiled over.
"I am unmarried and few women will want to marry me now what is left of my life will now be very difficult. I know God will help me through these difficult times and I seek him in prayer daily only He can save me from my dilemma."
Vikram's father Alvin John, has made a request to BPCA for urgent medical support, and they have not been able to return to their home due to threats. The opposition party is not only putting tremendous pressure on the police but also the hospital administration which has not released the medical certificate of Vikram Alvin. Vikram Alvin is recovering from his other injuries but he cannot see at all.
Vikram Alvin is admitted at Jinnah Hospital in eye ward and doctors are saying that he requires surgery as he has no vision, but Vikram and his father are afraid as a government hospital treatment is not known to be reliable and they are concerned they could eliminate any hope of recovery of his sight. The initial treatment in Jinnah Hospital was fine, but further treatment can only be done abroad, specifically, either in Turkey or Malaysia according to his father Alvin John. The potential cost for travel and medical treatment is difficult to estimate but we would need at least Â£6000 to begin even considering such help.
The family is still in grave danger and continue to receive serious threats, so they all are staying in the hospital in an attendee room while they monitor Vikram. The opposing parties have been sending messages to withdraw the case and to make a 'peace' agreement. They are stating that if the family fails to sign the agreement they will kill the brother of Vikram.
Alvin John, has expressed his serious concern about his family's safety and has asked BPCA to help provide a safe house for their protection. BPCA will need to raise an amount equivalent to Â£300 per month to achieve this in Karachi. A decent solicitor will cost around Â£600 to fight for justice for the family.
No First Incident Report (FIR) has been registered for the incident yet as Police ignore the concerns of this Christian family.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said: "It is devastating that a young Christian man could potentially lose his sight simply for being a Christian, this recent act of violence is deplorable as it exhibits the worsening intolerance in Pakistan.
"The very fact that the only trigger for this violence was a hatred for Christianity and that a family has had to move home twice to stay alive illustrates the pariah status Christians have in Pakistan, moreover it proves relocation is not a cure for persecution, despite what the UN and western governments say.