Slow pace of action against dacoits frustrates Sindh protesters

Police claim to have freed two hostages; whereabouts of three girls shrouded in mystery

HYDERABAD: Civil society activists and supporters of political parties stage a sit-in on the bypass at Wadhu Wah Qasimabad on Monday against the kidnapping of Hindu businessmen and children in Kashmore.—Umair Ali

HYDERABAD / SUKKUR: As the Hindu residents of upper Sindh continued their protest over the abduction of some businessmen and children belonging to the minority community, two of the hostages were released by the kidnappers on Monday evening.

The protest is being held at ’Dera Mor“ in Kashmore — the point where Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan borders merge — for several days now.

Five people, including three Hindus, were in captivity, Dr Mahar Chand told Dawn over phone from Kashmore. They included Dr Munir Naich, Mukhi Jagdesh, Jay Deep, Sagar Kumar and Mushtaq Ali Mumdani, added Mr Mahar.

Mr Mahar, who is senior vice president of PPP Minority Wing in Sindh, disclosed that the whereabouts of three girls — Nazia, Priya Kumari and Kasuar Khoso — also remain unknown.

SSP Amjad Sheikh said police had recovered Mukhi Jagdesh and Jay Deep during a police encounter with the kidnappers.

Police sources told Dawn that hostages had been brought to Mazari House.

However, Dr Mahar said, he had not met Mukhi Jagdesh and Jay Deep, adding that he was trying to confirm reports of their recovery.

The protest in Kashmore entered the fourth day on Monday. The traders kept their businesses and shops shut in Kashmore, Kandhkot, Badani, Karampur and Ghouspur.

The JUI-F’s provincial leadership supported the protest as did nationalist parties. However, a Hindu community leader regretted, none from the mainstream PPP and PML-N had joined them in protest.

The minority community also held a protest in Jamshoro town against the abduction issue. Supporters of the Sindh United Party also participated in the rally.

The Sindh police had given additional charge of Kashmore to Amjad Sheikh, the SSP of Shikarpur.

“We are fed up with kidnappings that occur almost every day in upper Sindh. Everyone is asking us to call off the protest,” Dr Mahar told Dawn.

SSP Sheikh, he pointed out, had promised the hostages’ recovery in a few days and “we are waiting for the promise to be fulfilled”.

Dr Chand said around 40 persons were kidnapped over the last few months. Some were freed by dacoits while others reached home after payment of ransom, he added.

SSP Sheikh requested the protesters to open the road only for 24 hours as passengers had got stuck and items laden in trucks were needed for people in other areas.

“We are endeavouring to ensure their recovery as quickly as possible,” he said.

The SSP pointed out that Priya Kumari’s is a two-year-old case of Sukkur, apparently implying it did not fall in his jurisdiction.

“The case of Nazia Khoso and her daughter involves a private dispute between Bhangwar and Khoso communities and it will be fixed soon,” he hoped.

Interim Home Minister Haris Nawaz told journalists in Thatta on Sunday that a plan had been finalised to launch an operation in the riverine area of Jacobabad and Shikarpur, promising to make it result-oriented.

Qurban Ali Khushik in Dadu also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2023 by Mohammad Hussain Khan and Waseem Shamsi

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