The contentious dispute between the Hindus and Bhayo clan in Chak, Shikarpur district that has simmered since late last year has reportedly been resolved by a jirga that fined both sides for their role.
The murder of three Hindu doctors in Chak town last November sparked protests and became a twisted tale of revenge and acrimony between clans and religious groups. The angst and tension of those weeks is in marked contrast to how quietly the dispute between the Hindus of Chak and the Bhayo clan implicated in the case was quietly resolved this week.
The Hindus and Bhayos reportedly reached an agreement at a jirga held in Karachi this week. The jirga heard from both sides and a long discussion ensued. The jirga reportedly found the Bhayo men guilty of killing three Hindus and injuring one. They were fined Rs. 3.9 million – with Rs1.2 million per murder and Rs300,000 for the injured.
Former Sindh minister Mir Manzoor Panhwar presided over the jirga, while federal minister Ghous Bux Khan Mahar, MNA Moulana Attaur Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Babul Khan Bhayo, President Hindu Panchayat Chak Engineer Prem Chand were in attendance.
The jirga also found Hindu boys responsible for assaulting Seema Bhayo and imposed a fine of Rs700,000.
The parties involved accepted the jirga’s verdict, sources said. The Bhayos have promised to pay the fine in three installments after deducting the Rs700,000 that the Hindus were asked to pay.
It is also believed that MNA Maulana Attaur Rehman, whose brother Maulana Fazlur Rehman is the head of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), played a key role because the men accused and arrested for killing the three doctors are JUI-F supporters.
Sardar Wahid Bux Bhayo was not aware of a jirga but said that the parties may have covertly resolved the issue.The president of the Hindu Panchayat in Chak, Engineer Prem Chand, denied that he was in Karachi at the time. However, sources have insisted that the jirga was held and the Hindus will withdraw case after payment of two installments of fine.
Ramesh Kumar, the patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, confirmed that the jirga was held on Sunday. “There were three sardars and an amount was settled. People weren’t getting justice in the regular way so this jirga was held to end the fear in the Hindu community, because the murderers were roaming around freely.”
Manzoor Panhwar said that he and Ghous Bux Mahar had gone to the Hindu community after hearing that they were planning to immigrate in the aftermath of the case. “They treated us with respect and said we can send the Bhayos to them,” Panhwar told The Express Tribune. “We told the Hindus that they can fine the Bhayos or forgive them.”
On November 8, 2011 three Hindu doctors – Ashok, Naresh and Ajeet Kumar – were shot dead and Dr Satya Pal was injured after four gunmen entered Dr Pal’s house and began firing. The murders were sparked by a dispute in Sitampur Muhalla, Chak, over a Bhayo girl, Seema.
While the Hindu community claimed Seema had a relationship with a boy called Sandeep, the Bhayo clan alleged that she had been assaulted. On November 10, Dr Naresh Kumar’s brother Suresh registered a First Information Report (No 80/2011) at the Chak police station against 11 Bhayo clansmen including Qazi Ghulam Mohammad, Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Hussain, Mohammad Ramzan, Maulvi Ehsanullah Bhayo, Mohammad Aslam Bhayo, Maulvi Naeem Bhayo, Ubaidullah Bhayo, Abdul Latif Bhayo, Abdul Ghani Bhayo and Abdul Rauf Bhayo. The police had arrested seven of these men and charged them in court.
Seema Bhayo is now reportedly married to her cousin in Shikarpur district.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.