Six members of a family gunned down in their sleep in gruesome honour killing

Updated January 28, 2020

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The attack was an offshoot a running feud between Brohi and Rind tribes over free-will marriage of Nasreen Brohi with Murtaza. — Reuters/File
The attack was an offshoot a running feud between Brohi and Rind tribes over free-will marriage of Nasreen Brohi with Murtaza. — Reuters/File

HYDERABAD: Six members of a family were gunned down in their sleep in the name of ‘honour’ in Salaro village in Matiari district’s riverine area early on Monday morning.

The victims were identified as Murtaza Rind, who was at the centre of the dispute, his brothers Majnoo Rind, 23, and Bhutto, 20, and sisters Ms Gulabi, 21; Ms Jadon, 38, and baby Samreen. A 10-year-old relative, Shakeela, suffered injuries while Murtaza’s wife Nasreen and her baby miraculously escaped unhurt.

Matiari police said that gunmen barged into Murtaza’s house and sprayed his family members sleeping on cots with bullets. The attack was an offshoot a running feud between Brohi and Rind tribes over free-will marriage of Nasreen Brohi with Murtaza.

Sources in police said that Murtaza’s family which used to live in Bhitshah obtained a piece of forest land a few years back in Salaro village where Murtaza met Nasreen. After some time she eloped with him in January 2018 but before the pair could solemnise marriage Brohis made Rinds return the woman to the family with the help of elders from both sides, said the sources.

The elders also penalised Rinds with Rs1.2 million fine which they paid to Brohis and then told them that since they had paid the penalty, Nasreen should now be returned to them but Brohis refused saying “she has been killed as ‘kari’ and now they will kill the ‘karo’ [Murtaza] as well”, said the sources.

In reality Brohis who had in the meantime shifted to Tando Adam area had not killed Nasreen but sold her off to a Jatoi tribesman living in Karachi. But she fled his house with a few days and came back to Murtaza. She was then taken into custody and produced in a court which later remanded her to judicial custody and allowed her to go with her husband, said the sources.

After Monday’s tragedy, Nasreen told a local journalist that she had filed a case in court for dissolution of marriage before marrying Murtaza of her own free will but her family did not forgive her and finally tracked them down.

Heirs of the deceased said that the gunmen had killed only Murtaza and his family members. “Nasreen, who miraculously escaped unhurt as she had slipped out unnoticed under cover of darkness, says that members of her family and probably Jatois to whom she had been sold can be behind the murders,” said the journalist who quoted her as saying before she was taken into protective custody.

Ali Sher Rind, an elder of Rind community, was coordinating with police for registration of the case. Police have so far picked up around a dozen suspects but none of them are among the prime suspects.

Ali Sher had told police that they would lodge FIR after consultation among tribal elders and completion of funeral rites. No FIR had been lodged while police were trying to lay hands on Rafiq Brohi, Nasreen’s father, who had absconded.

Nasreen was immediately shifted to houses of Murtaza’s relatives and police were said to be providing them protection. “We are protecting Nasreen and her in-laws,” said DIG Naeem Shaikh.

The bodies and the injured were taken to a Matiari hospital where post-mortem was conducted. The funeral prayers were to be offered in Bhitshah rest house.

Meanwhile, Rind tribesmen blocked a section of National Highway near Matiari in protest against the gruesome murders but ended the protest after DIG Shaikh talked to heirs of the deceased over phone and assured them that the culprits would be arrested soon.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2020