• SUP says its supporters killed in operation
• SSP claims action was carried out to arrest SRA militants
• Four Rangers personnel also sustain injuries

HYDERABAD: Four villagers were killed and nine others, including four Rangers personnel, wounded in an operation carried out by law enforcement agencies in a Sakrand village to nab militants belonging to the outlawed Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) on Thurs­day, officials said.

Without providing details, a Rangers spokesman said in a statement that an intelligence-based operation was launch­­ed against high-value targets. Upon seeing Rangers and police, “miscreants attacked the raiding team causing injuries to four Rangers personnel” and killing of three “attackers”, he claimed.

Confirming the killing of four villagers, Benazirabad SSP Hyder Raza identified the wounded Rangers personnel as Abdul Rasheed, Mohammad Awais, Mohammad Naeem, Mohammad Owais Asghar and policeman Mohammad Asif.

He claimed that the operation was carried out to nab SRA militants.

However, Sindh United Party (SUP) secretary general Roshan Burriro said that those killed were supporters.

He said that a protest demonstration was underway on a section of the National Highway and villagers were carrying coffins of the four persons killed in the operation in Sakrand.

Giving details about the raid, he said 24-year-old Liaquat Jalbani, who was a student of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Sakrand, was in the custody of law enforcers since Thursday morning. “Law enforcers had brought him to the house of Allahdad Jalbani in Mari Jalbani village where villagers, including women and children, gathered and tried to get Liaquat freed.”

He said that this led to a scuffle between security forces and villagers and the situation escalated when law enforcers fired shots leading to the death of four villagers and injury to as many.

SUP Benazirabad district president Mujeeb Maachi identified the dead as Akhan Ali and his brother Nizamuddin, Mehaar, and Sajawal. He said Allahdad and his other son Imamuddin suffered critical injuries.

He said that Liaquat Jalbani also suffered injuries, but was discharged from hospital as he didn’t receive any bullet injury.

Police sources told Dawn that Rangers along with a team of the Sindh police and intelligence agency personnel entered the village for an operation, but met with stiff resistance as around 100 to 200 villagers gathered there to question their move.

The police force left the place on the ground that it would not be viable to continue their action, but other law enforcers did not retreat, the sources added.

In a statement, SUP president Zain Shah termed the incident “a gift of caretaker government” which, he said, people of Sindh would not accept.

He accused the Pakistan Peoples Party of taking vindictive actions before general elections, and said that unarmed voters of SUP were targeted by police.

He urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the incident and order a judicial inquiry.

Other nationalist parties, including Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz (Chandio) and Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz also condemned the incident and asked for the judicial investigation of the matter.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2023

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