KARACHI, May 9: The electronics market remained closed on Friday as shopkeepers lit bonfire and blocked a patch of Abdullah Haroon Road in protest against the detention of their three colleagues for allegedly selling stolen electronics items.

The trouble began when the officials of police investigation wing from Gulshan-i-Iqbal arrived at the electronics market in Saddar at around 11.30am, and picked up some shopkeepers.

The witnesses said the police officials beat the shopkeepers with kicks, blows and butts of their official weapons, abused them, and dragged them into police mobile vans. The other shopkeepers tried to interfere, but the police warned them of dire consequences if they interfered in their official work.

The news about the detention and humiliation of shopkeepers by the police spread like wildfire. At the time of the raid, all of the shops had not opened. As the shopkeepers reached the market, they joined the protest and did not open their shops.

After the Juma prayers, the shopkeepers raised slogans against the police highhandedness and detention of their fellows. They blocked Abdullah Haroon road for movement of vehicular traffic from Preedy Chowk to M.A. Jinnah Road, and lit bonfire at various places.

High-ranking police officials and rangers reached the spot to maintain law and order. Some police officials met President of Karachi Electronics Dealers Association (KEDA). The KEDA presented some documents, bill of entry, and purchase slips as evidence to prove the innocence of the detained shopkeepers.

The police officers received the documents and assured the association that these would be verified and, if found authentic, the detained shopkeepers would be released.

The KEDA demanded that the three shopkeepers be set free, and announced that the strike would continue until their release.

KEDA President Mohammad Irfan told a press conference that the Gulshan investigation police had intimated the association that they wanted some shopkeepers to be questioned for selling stolen items.

The KEDA invited the police to its office after the Juma prayers where the shopkeepers in question were to present evidence of their innocence. However, instead of keeping its promise, the police raided the shops in civvies, beat the shopkeepers mercilessly, dragged them into police vans and whisked them away, he said.

He said those detained were identified as Mubeen, Anwar and Sultan. He claimed the shopkeepers were innocent and the police detained them without any lawful reason. “They have all the evidence in their favour to prove themselves innocent but the police did not listen to them, and picked them up,” he added.

A police official said the police were investigating into the matter and would verify the evidence provided by the association. According to him, some VCD items were stolen and a report was lodged with the Gulshan-i-Iqbal police. Its investigation wing acted upon receiving information that the stolen items were being sold at some shops in the electronics market.