SUKKUR: Armed men, believed to be activists of some radical religious group, on Thursday stormed a heatstroke centre in the city and resorted to firing into the air, forcing its operators to take to their toes.
The water outlet, set up at Ayub Gate, is one of the many centres set up by the Sukkur Municipal Corporation (SMC) to provide immediate relief to victims of heatstroke as the maximum temperatures in certain upper Sindh areas in recent days remained between 40 and 47 degrees Celsius. Such centres normally function at peak hours ie from 10am to 5pm.
Some radical religious activists, taking it as a violation of the Ehteram-i-Ramazan Ordinance, objected to the operation of such centres during the fasting hours. They told operators of several centres to shut them “or face the consequences”, according to Mr Taufiq Bandhani, SMC’s contractor of the centres.
However, the operators under threat appeared not convinced by their argument that people not suffering from heatstroke were largely being served water.
After repeatedly issuing such threats and getting annoyed by the operators’ defiance, a group of armed radicals stormed the Ayub Goth centre and forced its operators to shut it down. They fired into the air making the operators flee.
Mr Atta-ur-Rehman, the officer in charge of the Municipal Water Works, said the attackers belonged to a religious outfit. He said the municipal authorities had now advised the contractor to close down five such centres in the city for the time being. He said they would be reopened after necessary consultations with the authorities concerned.
Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2019