ISLAMABAD: Punjab police have told the Supreme Court that they have reconstituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to carry out a fresh probe into lynching of a Christian couple by a mob in Kot Radha Kishan on Nov 4 last year.
DIG (inspections and vigilance) Akhtar Umer Hayat Lalika now headed the JIT which was earlier led by the SP (investigations) for Kasur, said a report submitted to the court on behalf of Punjab IG Mushtaq Sukhaira.
The JIT was reconstituted in view of the observations of the court at the last hearing of the case on March 9, when it expressed shock over the lax attitude of police and indicated that it might order a judicial inquiry to probe into police failure to prevent the couple from being burned to death in a kiln over blasphemy allegations.
The court took up the case after taking suo motu notice of the tragic incident.
The police report said the new head of the JIT had been asked to ensure good quality investigations into the incident.
It said that 25 suspects had been arrested in addition to the earlier 76, bringing the total number of those arrested in the case to 101. Key witnesses’ statements under Section 164 of CrPC were recorded before Kasur Magistrate Syed Muhammad Ilyas on March 19. The loudspeakers used for inciting the people to attack the couple had been seized and made part of the case record.
According to the report, the JIT is minutely examining the role of ASI Abdul Rasheed in the tragedy. A fact-finding committee headed by the AIG of investigation branch has concluded that the ASI knew that a crisis was brewing a day before the ugly incident happened.
But he kept quiet and did not bother to inform his seniors — including the DPO, the SDPO and the SHO concerned — who could have taken action to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn.
The ASI’s silence precluded any preventive and security measures by police, the report said.
Similarly, Sub-Inspector Mohammad Ali, who was in charge of the factory area check-post of Kot Radha Kishan police station, and Constables Mohammad Saleem, Ahmed Din and Hakim Ali have been held responsible for not acting in a manner befitting a police officer. All of them were armed and could have at least fired in the air to ward off the mob. The report said that their inaction was not condonable.
As a consequence, ASI Rasheed was suspended and the remaining policemen were sent to the police lines, it added.
Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2015