Hatri police have nominated five Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) leaders - Shafi Burfat, Lala Aslam Pathan, Murataza Chandio, Sarang Joyo and Muhib Sindhi - in an FIR after Wednesday’s protest by the party turned violent, resulting in injuires to four civilians and three policemen.
Around a hundred supporters of the JSMM had blocked National Highway near Hatri bypass over the alleged enforced disappearance of their two workers. Police officials requested the protesters to end the demonstration, but they started hurling stones at the law-enforcers instead. In response, police opened aerial fire and resorted to baton charge and teargas shelling to disperse the crowd.
In the ensuing clash, six-year-old Mujahid Noonari, three female supporters of the JSMM and three policemen were wounded. A tractor was also set ablaze.
Two brothers, Ali Noonari, a proofreader at a Sindhi newspaper, and Zafar Noonari, a worker at a petrol pump, were allegedly taken away from their house three days ago. Their mother, Nazeera Noonari, who was among the protesters, said that some men wearing plain clothes whisked them away from Hatri bypass, a few kilometers from their Kelo Noonari village in tehsil Hyderabad rural.
The incident came on the heels of a bomb blast outside a SSP’s office in Hyderabad. The JSMM is believed to be the political wing of the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army (SDLA), which allegedly carries out blasts at railway tracks, power pylons and recently at some branches of the National Bank. After the SSP’s office blast, the police officials did not directly blame the JSMM or the SDLA, but tacitly suggested their involvement in the attack.
“Vehicles queued up along both sides of the highway as the sit-in continued for hours. We kept asking the protesters to let the traffic move, but they didn’t listen and started hurling stones at the police,” said SHO Munir Abbasi.
The protesters were led by JSMM’s leaders Sarang Joyo, Muhib Sindhi and Murataza Chandio, and the party’s student wing also participated. “Dozens of our workers have been abducted by intelligence agencies but there has been no let-up,” said Joyo.
SSP Hyderabad Saqib Ismail Memon said that seven protesters were arrested after the clash. The Hatri police have registered an FIR against 63 people on charges of violence, vandalism and sedition.
The family is yet to register an FIR for the recovery of the brothers. The Supreme Court is hearing the missing persons’ case and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has reportedly expressed dismay over the law enforcers’ failure to recover the missing men.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.