SUKKUR: Aside from a painfully slow recovery from bullet wounds for one victim, there has been no other development in the Shikarpur killing case that left three Hindus dead over Eid.
The police have no idea where to find Seema Bhayo, the girl at the centre of the storm. They have also been unable to arrest the men who are named in the police report as the main culprits.
Three Hindus, including one Dr Ajeet Kumar, were killed earlier this week when men attacked them in Chak outside Shikarpur. Another doctor, Dr Satya Pal, survived the attack. He is now out of danger and nursing his wounds at a Karachi hospital. “I am OK now but there is extreme pain in my shoulder,” he told The Express Tribune. “I fell unconscious soon after the attack.”
Despite the outrage expressed across the country, there are fears that the case will end up in cold storage. Already there are a lot of rumours floating around that suggest that it was not a love affair but a rape or that the fight was over a dancing girl and not an honour killing. Talking to The Express Tribune, a man from the Bhayo tribe said that the issue was being unnecessarily politicised. “Such incidents happen in various parts of Sindh and in other areas of the country regularly. Why does the media highlight the matter only when Hindus are targeted?
On Saturday, this correspondent visited the Mukhi Karori Mal Pars Ram Tulreja Government Girls High School in Chak where Seema Bhayo studied in Class 10.
No information could be gathered as the clerk of the school, Mohammad Ilyas, said that the headmistress was “on leave.” Other teachers were also reluctant to talk. According to Ilyas, the teachers and students of the school were afraid. Chak’s Education DDO Nazir Ahmed Dayo, when contacted on the phone, also expressed helplessness and said that he “cannot force the teachers to talk about the incident.”
But some people are willing to set the facts straight. A woman of Seema’s neighbourhood confirmed that Seema Bhayo was romantically involved with Sandeep and it was wrong to say that she was raped.
When asked where she could be, the woman said, “I don’t have any idea. Soon after the couple was caught, Seema’s family shifted from the neighbourhood.”
Early Sunday morning, a police contingent raided the katcha villages of the area, including Qazi Wali Mohammad and Qazi Bachal Bhayo, to arrest those involved in the triple murder. DSP Ghulam Zahid Mirani said that villagers had left their dwellings ahead of the raid, indicating that they had been tipped off.
Meanwhile, Manwar Kumar, the brother of Naresh Kumar, one of the victims, said there was no truth in the dancing girl accusation, and that the girl was invited by some of the young boys to celebrate Diwali (on October 26). Manwar spoke to The Express Tribune over the telephone from Chak.
This led to fears among the Hindu community that the Bhayo tribesmen would take it as an insult. “A delegation of our notables, including women and Muslim elders, approached the head of the Bhayo tribe, Sardar Babul Bhayo, the very next day,” Manwar recalled. “He demanded custody of five boys and a possible video recording of the [Diwali] party within the next two days.” The Bhayos apparently assumed on their own that a video recording was made.
“We requested them to resolve the issue amicably. Sardar Babul said that the issue would be resolved after Eid. He telephoned Dr Satya Pal soon after, saying they would meet on the second day of Eid,” Manwar added.
As tensions rose, two policemen were deployed outside the disused clinic of Dr. Satya Pal. One of the policemen then went on Eid leave and another sought leave from Dr. Satya Pal to run a personal errand just 10 minutes before the attack. The masked gunmen attacked the house at around 4pm, Manwar said.
“We had no inkling about the attack. Our elders were assured of an amicable solution but were then themselves targeted,” said a close friend of Dr. Satya Pal. “We are educated and peace-loving people. We are ruined now.”
with additional input from Karachi by Sameer Mandhro
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2011.