KASUR: A pitched battle between police and protesters left 25 people, including two DSPs, injured near Dolaywala village along Deepalpur Road on Tuesday.

Hundreds of people hailing from Husain Khanwala and other villages demonstrated against police for their alleged failure to smash a gang suspected of raping hundreds of children and extorting money from their parents by blackmailing them through videos.

The gang had been involved in the activity since 2009 and a property dispute brought the issue to surface. Police have registered seven cases against 15 people and arrested six of them.

The villagers were planning to protest in front of the Lahore Press Club and stage a sit-in near the Punjab Assembly and accordingly announcements were made after the Friday sermons in Husain Khanwala and surrounding villages this past week but the death of a villager caused delay in the plan. Later, the villagers were informed through mobile phones that they would protest against police on Tuesday.

RPO assures protesters of arrests in ghastly case

On Monday night, police held negotiations with the potential troublemakers and arrested two more suspects on Tuesday morning to pacify the villagers but in vain. Police cordoned off the roads leading to the village to stop the protesters who emerged on six vans, three tractor-trolleys and scores of motorcycles.

As a police contingent tried to stop the mob led by Mobeen Ahmed, the latter pelted stones and resorted to aerial firing. Police tear-gassed and baton-charged the crowd which went berserk and damaged private and official vehicles on Deepalpur Road. The protesters also snatched SMG (short machine gun rifle) from a police constable.

The clash left DSPs Hassan Farooq Ghumman and Arif Rasheed, Ganda Singh SHO Akmal Kausar, cops Akbar, Sajid, Riaz, Naeem, Ahmed Ali, Akbar Ghani and Muhammad Akmal besides 15 of the protesters injured. The injured were taken to the DHQ Hospital.

Later, the protesters again gathered at Kashmir Chowk and lambasted police. At New Bus Terminal on Ferozepur Road, Regional Police Officer Sahibzada Shahzad Sultan, MPA Malik Ahmed Saeed, DPO Rai Babar Saeed and SP Investigation Muhammad Nadeem Abbas negotiated with the protesters who finally dispersed on the assurance of the RPO that their representatives would be allowed to have a meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif within four to five days. He also pledged arrest of the remaining suspects.

The injured policemen obtained medico-legal certificates (MLCs) from the hospital. No case was registered till last reports came in.

It is learnt that police have got video-recordings of rape of children but they claim that this evidence shows many victims have turned perpetrators and it will take time to investigate the case.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2015

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