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Sunday, July 21, 2024  
14 Muharram 1446  

Police finally act against suspects for storming Gurdwara in Sukkur

Five named in FIR, police claim four of the accused on the after their accomplice held
This file photo shows construction activities at the gurdwara in Sukkur. Photo via author
This file photo shows construction activities at the gurdwara in Sukkur. Photo via author

A court remanded suspect, Zafar Mughal, in police custody for two weeks on Saturday in a case pertaining to disrupting a small religious gathering at a Sikh gurdwara in Sukkur. He is one of the five suspects named in a complaint registered by a minority community member.

The police arrested Zafar on Friday night after the worshipers named him, along with his four accomplices, in a complaint against the harassment to Police Station Section B.

Earlier, the police were reluctant to register any formal complaint. They had released four suspects after brief detention due to “pressure” from a local personality, said the minority leaders.

On June 29, according to the complaint, four to five men interrupted a religious event at the gurdwara located at Hussaini Road in the city. The community was performing kirtan, which means ‘singing the praises of God’. They sing the divine word from the Guru Granth Sahib.

Ali Mughal, Zafar Mughal, Zain Mughal, Zubair Mughal, and Wasif Mughal were named as suspects in the first information report. Amarjeet Singh is the plaintiff in the case.

They were booked under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting Its religion or religious beliefs), 384 (punishment for extortion), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The complainant accused the suspects of ending the prayers and giving death threats to worshippers. Singh alleged that Ali kept filing false cases during the construction of the gurdwara.

The police had been allowing time for reconciliation between the parties involved in a dispute that centered around an ongoing construction activity at the historical gurdwara in one of the oldest cities in the Sindh province.

 A photo of worshippers in the gurdwara during prayers. Both Hindus and Sikhs pray together in the building. Photo via author.
A photo of worshippers in the gurdwara during prayers. Both Hindus and Sikhs pray together in the building. Photo via author.

According to the FIR, Ali allegedly took worth Rs750,000 extortion money after blackmailing the community. While his accomplice Zafar took Rs100,000 worth of extortion money and the latest incident took place when the community refused to pay an additional Rs200,000 worth of the amount, it claimed.

The police have claimed to have been conducting raids for other suspects, who are on the run after Ali’s arrest.

Suspects had accused the worshippers of causing too much noise and keeping the loudspeaker to a higher volume than allowed on Thursday’s event. Sources told Aaj News that it was also due to the under-construction windows, leading to an increased level of sound.

But such reasons were attempts to harras the community, sources said and alleged that Ali Mughal was “notorious” in the city. Since Zafar’s arrest, he has been hiding and posting videos on his Facebook account which has more than 6,000 followers, they added.

In one of the videos, he accused the Sukkur police SSP and some politicians of protecting the community in order to get votes. Ali warned of taking to the streets if anything happens to him or his incarcerated brother.

To settle down the situation, a meeting was held between members of the minority community and Muslim religious leaders on Saturday. Mufti Muhammad Ibrahim, his assistant Musharraf Qadri, and Maulana Mehboob Sahtho attended the meeting. There were two members from the Hindu community, including Baghwan Das.

The meeting was arranged by Sukkur SSP Singhar Malik.

The Mufti Ibrahim’s assistant told Aaj News that the loudspeaker issue has been resolved and the community has agreed to start prayers after Isha until the building was constructed. Qadri added that a final undertaking would be done tomorrow (Sunday) – the day has been set for reconciliation.

The Hindu community has agreed to the conditions.

SSP Malik has assured us of everything, Das told Aaj News when asked about the development. He confirmed the conditions and that they have been told to use loudspeakers as per the law in connection with the sound system.

“We will follow the rules and we are ready to give everything in writing,” he said.

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