LAHORE: The identity of two suspects lynched after being taken away from police custody by protesters could not be ascertained till late on Sunday night.
An eyewitness said the police had taken two suspects into custody from the blast site and shifted them to a vehicle when a group of unidentified people got hold of them.
“The policemen first resisted but later let the mob take away the suspects,” said a middle aged man, who wished not to be named.
He said the enraged mob started thrashing the two suspects who fell unconscious. Later, someone from the mob sprinkled some flammable liquid on the suspects and set them ablaze. “The mob encircled the two suspects to ensure that they are completely burnt,” said the eyewitness.
A police officer told Dawn that three officials of the party carrying the suspects were injured by the mob.
Police IG Mushtaq Sukhera told newsmen after visiting the injured officials at Lahore General Hospital that efforts were under way to ascertain the identity of the two men lynched by the mob.
“The policemen did attempt to resist but the mob was highly charged. It was not impossible to use force at that time because it could turn the situation ugly and perhaps out of control,” said the IGP.
He dispelled the impression that some of the policemen deputed for the security of the churches were watching cricket match on a TV set when the suicide bombers attempted to enter the premises. “Had the policemen deputed there been watching TV the suicide bombers would have entered the churches and constable Rashid Minhas and churches security people would not have lost their lives,” said Mr Sukhera.
SSP (Investigations) Rana Ayyaz Saleem told this reporter that the angry mob detained the four policemen injured in the blasts at a shop for two hours or so.
“SP (Security) Liaquat Ali Malik rescued the injured policemen from the shop. By the time the mob had hammered the two suspects to death. Led by Kahna SHO Ehsan, a police party was shifting the bodies to a hospital when a large number of people stopped the vehicle and after dragging them out torched them. SHO Ehsan and four other policemen were injured by the protesters who were approximately in thousands,” said Mr Saleem.
The SSP said no stern action could be taken in the given circumstances because it might have worsened the situation.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2015