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Murder of two trader brothers by robbers sparks wave of protest in Thar, Umerkot

Updated January 06, 2018

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PEOPLE hold a protest in the Shahi Bazaar area of Mithi on Friday.—Dawn
PEOPLE hold a protest in the Shahi Bazaar area of Mithi on Friday.—Dawn

MITHI: Two brothers, food grain traders by profession, were shot dead by robbers in Shahi Bazaar of Mithi town on Friday morning triggering a wave of protest in various towns of Tharparkar and Umerkot districts.

All business establishments, commercial concerns and shops in were closed in many towns of the two districts in protest against what was described as the “rare” incident of such a violent robbery in Mithi.

Witnesses and the area police said that Daleep Maheshwari, 42, and his brother, Chandar Mahesh­wari, 40, were busy handling the routine trading at their business place when two assailants riding a motorcycle shot them at point blank range, snatched an undetermined amount of money from them and drove away without facing any resistance by people present in the bazaar.

Shutterdown observed, sit-ins held in many towns

Some witnesses told the police that the victims offered resistance upon which the robbers opened fire killing one of them, Daleep, on the spot. Chandar was rushed to the Mithi Civil Hospital in a critical condition, they added.

A little later, Chandar, succumbed to his wounds. A large number of people gathered at the traders’ outlet and raised slogans against the area police.

They told local reporters that no policeman bothered to come to the crime scene hours after the incident was reported to the police station. It was learnt that almost all police stations of the town lacked strength as officers and personnel led by Thar SSP Amir Saud Magsi had to join the force that had been sent to Mirpurkhas, where Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Asif Ali Zardari was to address a public meeting in the evening.

Although businessmen, traders and shopkeepers in Mithi, Islam­kot, Chhachhro, Diplo, Chelhar, Nagarpkar, Dahli and several other towns pulled down shutters as soon as they received the news of the incident, their organisations later endorsed the shutdown and announced that the closure would continue on Saturday if the killers were not arrested by the next morning.

Activists of various political and nationalist parties and groups joined the protesting businessmen, traders and shopkeepers in their demonstrations and sit-ins held in different towns during the shutdown.

The protesters lit bonfires along many thoroughfares which led to disruption in the flow of vehicular traffic.

Among the affected people were the PPP activists and supporters leaving for Mirpurkhas in caravans to attend the public meeting.

Some of the caravans remained stranded on blocked roads for about four hours. PPP MPA Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani spoke to the protesters at a section of the Badin-Mirpurkhas road and persuaded them to clear the way by holding out the assurance that he would do his best to get the killers arrested.

Meanwhile, the protesting orga­ni­sations were told that Home Min­ister Suhail Anwar Siyal had taken notice of the incident and ensuing protest and ordered the Tharparkar SSP to look into the matter and ensure arrest of the killers.

It was learnt the Sindh Inspector-General of Police, A.D. Kho­w­aja, had directed the Mirpurkhas DIG to get the incident investigated and make all out efforts to get the culprits arrested.

An FIR of the incident was not registered till late in the evening.

Prominent Hindu community leaders Kheel Das Kohistani, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA Lalchand Malhi as well as political leaders Haleem Adil Shaikh, former chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim and others condemned the double murder and called for immediate arrest of the killers.

Our Umerkot correspondent adds: Protesters in Umerkot, Sam­aro and some other towns blocked roads by holding demonstrations and sit-ins on Friday against the violent robbery in Mithi that left two trader brothers dead.

Lead one such protest held at Allahwala Chowk in Umerkot town, Lekhraj Malhi criticised the police for their failure to ensure safety and security of citizens by checking crime.

“Instead of discharging their duties efficiently, they mostly remain busy providing protocol to VVIPs and VIPs or are deployed to maintain peace during political rallies,” he said. Protesters place tyres and junk in the middle of Umerkot-Mirpurkhas road to disrupt flow of vehicular traffic.

The remained blocked for two hours during the course of the protest.

In Samaro town, Babar Khas­kheli, Amolakh Das and other activists led a rally taken out from Tima Bhagat temple.

The participants converged on the local press club, where their leaders spoke to them.

The protesters also blocked the Samaro-Kot Ghulam Mohammed road with burning tyres and raised slogans against the provincial government and police.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2018