HYDERABAD: Tension prevailed in Ghotki district, bruised by Sunday’s violent vandalism targeting a Hindu temple and other properties of the community, on Monday with the police nominating over 200 persons in three separate FIRs. Only five suspects were picked up though.
Sukkur Additional IGP Dr Jameel Ahmed said that a total of three FIRs have been registered at A-Section Police Station in addition to the earlier one nominating Notan Lal, whose alleged sacrilegious remarks stirred the violence. “61 rioters have been nominated …remaining 157 unidentified hooligans are being identified.” According to Ahmed, the accused persons have been charged with desecrating the Sacho Satram Das Temple, damaging Lal-owned Sindh Public School and other commercial properties of the Hindu community besides blocking the National Highway.
The FIRs were lodged on the complaint of the state on Sunday. One of the FIR, concerning the attack on the community’s properties, has been lodged on the complaint of Head Constable Ghulam Murtaza Chachar and the other about the highway’s blockade on the complaint of ASI Zafar Ali Chandio. In the first FIR, 45 people have been booked under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code for attacking the temple. The second FIR nominated 23 people ransacking and damaging the community’s property. Interestingly, the highest number of suspects, 150, have been charged with blocking the roads and movement of traffic. Rangers and police patrol maintained a semblance of peace in the city but the haunted Hindu community restricted themselves to their homes. The city’s main commercial centres remained partially closed even though the provincial government and prominent persons from the Muslim community reached out to the Hindu community on Sunday night. Provincial ministers, Saeed Ghani and Nasir Hussain Shah, besides local well known persons visited the temple on Sunday and assured the community of their complete support.
Meanwhile, support and solidarity for the community kept pouring in from across Sindh. Several delegations of political, nationalist and religious leaders also visited the distressed community on Monday to express solidarity.
“A judicial inquiry of the incident should be conducted through the district and sessions judge,” demanded Dr Qadir Magsi, chairman of Sindh Taraqi Pasand, after visiting the community in Ghotki. He termed the incident an abhorrent act of terrorising the community. Ayaz Latif Palijo, general-secretary of the Grand Democratic Alliance, also echoed the same demand for judicial inquiry, blaming the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Sindh government for failing to protect the community. “The Ghotki incident has caused serious damage to peace and harmony in Sindh,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2019.