ISLAMABAD: Six villagers were injured during a clash with armed men allegedly backed by the police and sent to the area by a property tycoon to occupy land on Monday, sources in the police and the villagers said.

Some villagers were later found missing and residents suspected that they had been taken away by the armed men.

Scores of armed men raided Rajwal village allegedly under the protection of the police and got over 37 kanals vacated from the villagers. They also started work on the land using heavy machinery.

The villagers gathered at the spot and warned the alleged land grabbers to leave, the sources said. But the armed men beat up the villagers.

Some villagers later reached the spot carrying weapons and challenged the attackers that resulted in a gunbattle in which six villagers were injured.

Later, the police escaped from the spot.

The villagers then forced the attackers to flee from the spot and also recovered their land.

They also detained eight attackers and handed them over to the police. But the police were reluctant to register a case against them.

The injured villagers were shifted to the hospital. Later, the angry villagers gathered on Islamabad Highway and blocked it to protest against the incident.

The hour-long protest ended after senior police officers reached the spot and assured the villagers that a case would be registered against those involved in the attack. But till the filing of this report on Monday evening, the case had not been registered.

“The police presence and support to the armed men were in the knowledge of some police officers,” the villagers alleged.

The SDPO and SHO Sihala could not be contacted for comments. Another police officer confirmed the incident and said a case would be registered.

“Eight persons are in police custody and the others would also be arrested soon,” he added.

Published in Dawn, July 1st , 2014

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