SUKKUR: Rangers personnel were called into Khairpur to control the city as simmering anger between two religious sects erupted on Friday.
Over 10 people were injured and six shops set on fire on Friday morning during fights between the sects. A contingent of police and the Rangers were deployed inside the city and on its borders. People in the affected areas have been advised to remain indoors.
Friday’s clashes emerged from three days of brewing tension between two religious sects over the use of a loudspeaker from the Umer Farooq Mosque in the Chandio Morr locality. Sources claimed that after there was a verbal altercation over loudspeaker use, armed men from one sect attacked the mosque and opened fire, injuring three people. Members of the other sect reportedly retaliated and injured another two people.
On Friday, a betel nut shop was set on fire in the Bachal Shah Mohalla. Members of the owner’s sect blamed the other sect for the arson and set four shops on fire in different areas. The police fired teargas shells to disperse the mob but the clashes continued. Armed men from both sects exchanged fire which led to over 10 people being injured.
The Rangers officials were called in to help the police with maintaining law and order. The law enforcement officials patrolled most areas including Naya Goth, Panj Gulla Chowk, Mir Ali Bazaar, Achi Khohi, Mohalla Ali Murad, Phool Bagh, Shahi Bazaar and others.
Religious leaders from both sides were arrested by the police, including six other people. The leaders include Abdul Karim Marri, Abdul Qayoom Haideri and Aslam Rajput. Weapons were also recovered.
Deputy Commissioner Khairpur Ghulam Abbas Baloch said that a handful of men from either sect were involved. The police and Rangers have taken control of the situation and arrested six men. They advised people to stay home and said that no orders imposing a curfew or allowing a ‘shoot on sight’ policy had been passed.
DIG Police Sukkur Range Dr Ameer Ahmed Shaikh rushed to Khairpur early Friday morning. He said that some ‘troublemakers’ were triggering hatred between two sects and they would be arrested without discriminating between the groups.
However, after the clash, DIG Sukkur Range withdrew the security provided to the religious leaders in Khairpur.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2012.