Umerkot closed down in a partial strike on Saturday after two men were shot in a clash over the occupation of a temple’s land. The police have also picked up six suspects on the complaint of Ratan Malhi, who represents the Hindu panchayat, the custodians of the Aakharo temple.
The two men were attacked on Friday after construction that was halted in a shop on the temple’s boundary was restarted. Zulfiqar Punjabi, the prime accused in the case, claimed to have purchased the land to expand his shop but the panchayat refuted the claim and asked him to show the registry or sale deed.
“We only have tenants in 22 shops surrounding the temple at its peripheries,” said Malhi. Meanwhile, the two injured men who were shifted to hospitals in Karachi and Hyderabad, are said to be recovering. Rano Malhi, 22, was shot in the neck and has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Hyderabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2012.