The list of men accused of killing three Hindus in Shikarpur has just grown longer but not all of them are in the police file.
For starters, three more names were added to the FIR on Thursday: Mohammad Islam Bhayo, Mohammad Hussain Bhayo and Iqbal Ahmed Bhayo. If the police arrest them, they will join seven other Bhayo clansmen who were handed over to the police for questioning for a week by Jacobabad Anti-Terrorism Judge Abdul Rasheed Soomro. This group includes Moulvi Ehsanullah Bhayo, Mohammad Aslam Bhayo, Moulvi Naeem Bhayo, Ubaidullah Bhayo, Abdul Latif Bhayo, Abdul Ghani Bhayo and Abdul Rauf Bhayo.
These men find themselves at the centre of the high-profile case from Sitampur Muhalla, Chak which hit the headlines on the first day of Eid. Armed men barged into the house of Naresh Kumar and opened fire to kill him, his friend Ashok Kumar, fatally injure Dr Ajeet Kumar and critically injure Dr Satya Pal.
The “crime” that these four men apparently committed was that they intervened on behalf of two young men of their community who had been apprehended two weeks earlier and charged with criminally assaulting a Muslim girl, Seema Bhayo. The real story, as told by neighbourhood residents, was that Seema and a young man Sandeep Kumar fell in love and were caught while they were meeting at Naresh’s house.
Seema has since gone missing. And here is where a fourth name surfaces: Qazi Ghulam Mohammad Bhayo.
This is the man who was apparently caught by the police but has since vanished into thin air. Two men have taken his name: Mir Babul Khan Bhayo who was arranging for the Hindu-Bhayo reconciliation, and the president of the Hindu Panchayat Prem Chand.
According to Prem Chand, the community was told by SSP Junaid Shaikh that they had arrested Qazi Ghulam Mohammad Bhayo and seized his Kalashnikov. The SSP has since been transferred, primarily because of the absence of the guards who were supposed to protect the Hindus after the dispute erupted.
The second person to name Qazi Ghulam Mohammad Bhayo as the man behind the murders and Seema’s kidnapping is Mir Babul Khan Bhayo, who runs the Pakistan Peoples Party in Shikarpur. He accused Qazi while speaking to journalists and rejecting allegations that he was involved.
Mir Babul has himself been accused of the crime by a third person, Moulvi Ehsanullah Bhayo, who was one of the seven men arrested for the case. He told journalists that his arrest was “politically motivated”, that he was affiliated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, worked as the pesh imam of a mosque and ran a madrassa. He has also accused Mir Babul Khan Bhayo’s men of taking Seema away.
According to sources, Moulvi Ehsanullah wanted to end the dispute with dialogue, but Qazi Ghulam Mohammad Bhayo wanted it settled by the bullet. Qazi Ghulam Mohammad Bhayo’s elders are known in the area for their welfare work. For example, Bachal Bhayo police station is named after his grandfather Qazi Mohammad Bachal Bhayo.
In the meantime, in Karachi, Inspector General Mushtaq Shah gave a detailed briefing to Home Minister Manzoor Wasan into the case. They are facing the anger of the Pakistan Medical Association in Sindh as doctors have been outraged by the killings.
The PMA’s Dr Samrina Hashmi said that she has been in touch with Home Minister Manzoor Wasan ever since the incident took place. “I’ve urged him to protect the lives of doctors no matter where they may be in the province at all costs,” she said.
Hashmi said the Hindu community has produced a number of outstanding doctors over the years, but unfortunately due to the prevailing law and order situation, many of them have been forced to abandon their cities and profession. “Many doctors, including from the Hindu community have left the country due to the threats to their lives.”
(Read: Violence against Hindus)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.
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