HYDERABAD: Chand Raat celebrations were marred by a fight that broke out on Hali Road, in which a man and a child were killed.
The fight started between young members of the Hazara and Gaddi communities over allegations that a woman was harrassed at a shop on September 11. A group of women had come for Eid shopping at a market near Jama Masjid on Hali Road when some boys started to bother them.
After a brief fight, members of the Gaddi tribe went to a relief camp that was being run by the Sunni Tehrik. They were sitting at the camp when unidentified armed men came into the camp and started firing at them, injuring several people. Twenty-five year old Muhammad Azeem, 13-year-old Muhammad Ali, Ahmad Ali, Faisal and Kashif were injured.
Tension prevailed across the city and there were reports of aerial firing in the American Quarters, Hali Road, Faqir Kapar, Nishat Chowk and other areas. Chaand Raat’s fun came to an abrupt and early end as shops and markets shut down across the city.
The injured were taken to Civil hospital, where there were no doctors in the emergency ward. Muhammad Azeem succumbed to his injuries. Infuriated by the lack of medical help, those accompanying the injured men started breaking furniture and damaging equipment. The situation inside the hospital worsened when gunshots were heard from outside. Members of the Gaddi tribe inside the building tried to take away the hospital security guards’ weapons but were stopped when other people intervened. Several patients and families hid in the bathrooms and under the tables when they heard the firing.
Since there were still no doctors available, the teenaged Ali, who was shot in the head and in critical condition, was sent to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi while the rest of the injured party was taken to other hospitals in Hyderabad city.
Ali succumbed to his injuries on the second day of Eid. Ali was the nephew of a Sunni Tehrik activist, Muhammad Ali.
According to members of the Gaddi tribe, young men of the Hazara biraderi were constantly harassing women in the market on September 11. “They attacked us because we asked them to stop teasing the women,” alleged the injured Gaddi members.
Provincial leader of the Sunni Tehrik Muhammad Khalid Hassan Atari said that all those who were injured that day belonged to his party. They had been sitting in the camp when the attackers opened fire on them.
Muhammad Azeem’s funeral prayers were offered on the first day of Eid on September 12. Some of the mourners had a clash with the police, which was deployed in the area to keep things under control. Enraged young men pelted police officials with stones and also fired into the air. A group of them also managed to snatch an official’s gun away. However, leaders of the Sunni Tehrik intervened and the gun was returned.
Meanwhile, prayers for Muhammad Ali were offered on the second day of Eid led by Allama Sufi Raza Muhammad Abbasi at the Sabzi Mandi Chowk. A large number of residents and Sunni Tehrik activists, including Atari, took part in the funerals. Azeem and Ali were both buried in the Gaddi graveyard.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2010.