MIRPURKHAS: An unspecified number of activists belonging to the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) were picked up in several raids carried out in the city after the late Saturday killing of three people by armed men at the main gate of Gama Stadium turned out to be a sectarian attack.

Additional units of police and Rangers personnel were deployed at many sensitive places overnight and patrolling by security agencies was intensified to prevent sectarian violence in reaction. The district administration has reportedly sought assistance of army troops apprehending a law and order situation on the 9th and 10th of Muharram in the wake of the incident.

In the late Saturday evening, a car carrying five persons and driven by Mir Nauman Talpur, the son of a prominent landowner and elite of the Mir Ki Landhi area, Mir Fateh Talpur, a close relative of MNA Faryal Talpur, was it by a motorcycle near the Gama Stadium gate on Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Road.

While the biker was engaged in heated arguments with the car occupants, another biker joined him. Witnesses and police said that one of the bikers fire many shots, leaving all five car occupants in a pool of blood, and then drove away.

Mir Nauman Talpur managed to drive the car up to the Makhan Shah Imambargah where police and Rangers personnel were present. In order to draw their attention, he slightly rammed his car into a Rangers vehicle.

However, the security personnel at the place took it as a possible suicide bombing attempt and tried to drive away. They stopped only when Mir Talpur started shouting to seek their help.

The security personnel returned and found him and four other victims seriously wounded. Mir Talpur briefed them about the ordeal.

A large number of people present near the Imambargah, where an Ashura-related congregation was under way, gathered around the car and after knowing about the attack, some charged people among them tried to vent their anger by indulging in violence.

However, the security forces brought the situation under control before it could aggravate.

All five victims were transported to the Mirpurkhas Civil Hospital, where doctors pronounced Sunil Sodar and Allahdino Mallah dead on arrival.

The other three victims, Mir Nauman Talpur, Munawwar Marri and Om Prakash were provided first aid and referred to the Liaquat Medical University Hospital (LUMHS), Hyderabad, but Munawwar Marri succumbed to his wounds on the way, near Tando Allahyar.

The condition of Mir Talpur and Om Parkash was stated to be not stable at the LUMHS. The news of the incident spread across the district like a wildfire and groups of angry people took to the streets of Mipurkhas city and other towns of the district to register their protest. However, no violent incident took place.

Mirpurkhas Commissioner Sajid Jamal Abro, Deputy Commissioner Syed Mehdi Ali Shah, DIG Dr Mohammed Amin Yousufzai, SSP Jam Zafarullah Dharejo and other senior officials rushed to the civil hospital and issued necessary directives to keep the law and order under control.

During the preliminary investigation, the area police came to know that the car occupants had come across a couple of strangers near the city’s railway station about three hours before the attack and asked them to lower the volume of the car tape-recorder plying noha/marsia.

The two sides argued over the matter and the car occupants left the locality to attend a majlis, it was gathered.

The wounded victims told the police that they left the majlis and were passing by the Gama Stadium when attacked by the bikers.

Meanwhile, police carried out raids in different localities of Mirpurkhas city and picked up 10 ASWJ activists on suspicion of their involvement in the attack.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has reportedly asked the Mipurkhas DIG to conduct a thorough probe into the incident and submit a report to him as early as possible.

DIG Dr Yousufzai told the media that a request had been made for keeping the army troops standby for assistance in the face of a possible flare-up.

Extra units of police and Rangers personnel had been deployed outside Imambargahs and patrolling intensified in view of the sectarian tension, he added.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2014

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