MULTAN, Nov 13: Three people were killed when police opened fire at a mob on Thursday protesting against the shooting of a coachman at the hands of robbers at Donga Bonga village near Bahawalnagar.

Reports reaching here said that hundreds of people gathered outside the Donga Bonga police station on Thursday morning to protest against the killing of coachman Altaf Hussain on Wednesday night and the deteriorating law and order in the area. They had placed Altaf’s body in front of the police station.

During negotiations with protesters, SHO Yousaf Pehlwan used harsh words which infuriated people who later torched the police station building, leaving it partially damaged.

When the police resorted to baton-charge, the protesters went away to regroup at the rural health centre in the village and ransacked offices and damaged the vehicle of a doctor.

Meanwhile, the SHO called reinforcements from Bahawalnagar, including a contingent of the Elite Force. When protesters came out of the RHC, the police opened fire at them, killing three people. They were identified as Mohammad Arshad, Mohammad Yousaf and Amjad.

After some time, the protesters again attacked the police station and set on fire the building. They also torched a fire brigade vehicle that had come from Bahawalnagar. The police and the personnel of the Elite Force then fled the scene.

The mob placed the bodies on the Haroonabad-Bahawalnagar Road, suspending the traffic. Till late night, Punjab police chief Masood Shah, the district Nazim and some other elected representatives were in talks with the protesters for lifting the highway blockage.

Reports said that Bahawalnagar district Nazim Akbar Waince and District Police Officer Umer Shaikh had earlier stayed away from the troubled locality. DSP Zameer Khan did try to handle the situation, but he was beaten up by the mob and admitted to the Bahawalnagar DHQ hospital.

A source in the district administration said the civil authorities had expressed inability to handle the situation and wanted to seek military help.

COACHMAN: Two bandits intercepted Altaf’s tonga on Wednesday night and fired at him when he resisted their bid to loot him and the passengers he was carrying.

The outlaws then waylaid a motorcyclist, Ashraf, and deprived him of his bike. They also took away Rs1,700 from a pedestrian Iqbal. Altaf died on way to the RHC where Dr Tahir Hassan reportedly refused to conduct autopsy on the body at night.