HYDERABAD: A gun battle between the Chang and Khan groups over a 30-rupee loan left four brothers dead in Gulshan-e-Khair Muhammad on Sunday.
According to officials, a child belonging to the Khan family went to a shop, owned by Abdul Majeed Chang. The boy bought something for Rs30 but did not pay, saying that he would pay later.
On Saturday night, the shopkeeper went to the residence of Asghar Khan, the grandfather of the child, to take the money back. An argument ensued and the two families went to the Tando Yousuf police station where the SHO tried to resolve the dispute. The fight ended momentarily.
However, on Sunday morning, members of the Chang community reached Asghar Khan’s house, knocked on the door and called his four sons outside. As soon as they came out, the Chang men opened fire on the Khans, killing three of the brothers, Akbar, Zahir and Wali, instantly and injuring Sakhwat. He was taken to Civil Hospital, Hyderabad, where he was pronounced dead.
When the news of the shoot-out spread, a mob encircled the houses of the Chang people and threw stones at them. Armed men stopped the police and Edhi volunteers from entering the area.
Protesters also torched two houses, two vehicles and the shop which was the centre of the contention. They blocked Fateh square and the Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas road and pelted stones at vehicles passing by.
Meanwhile, the police moved 30 people, mostly women and children, from the area to safety. The Rangers and armoured personnel carriers were also called in to control the situation. After the police took control of the area, they rescued 39 members of the Chang community who were stuck in their houses and moved them to a safer place. However, the police did not disclose the location of where those people were taken.
Even after the police cordoned off the area, the situation was tense as gunshots resounded in the area.
According to officials, no arrests were made because the elders of both communities intervened. A jirga will be held between the two groups and the matter will be resolved accordingly, officials revealed.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2010.