KARACHI: A female police officer among three policemen were attacked in Orangi Town on Friday afternoon when they were trying to implement lockdown measures ordered by the Sindh government to prevent spread of coronavirus by restricting Juma congregations, said police and witnesses.

The crowd allegedly attacked the police officers with stones resulting in injuries to the newly appointed lady SHO of the Pirabad police station Sharafat Khan, an intelligence police officer Hayat Gul and Constable Abdul Salam.

According to Orangi SP Shabbir Baloch, around 30 people were on their way to the Haqqani Masjid near a mazaar in Frontier Colony to offer Friday prayer followed by other people when a police party tried to stop them. The mob allegedly pelted the police with stones. As a result, the female SHO suffered bruises on her nose, added Mr Baloch.

A contingent of police led by senior officers rushed to the spot to prevent the situation from getting deteriorating further.

The police reportedly sealed the streets and launched a search operation for arrest of the suspects.

Witnesses said the police detained some persons for questioning. However the SP Orangi denied that any arrests were made.

He said the case would be registered against the people involved in the incident, but they were waiting for directions from the higher authorities.

City Police Chief AIG Ghulam Nabi Memon said that the police were “working out facts”.

Meanwhile Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam spokesperson Sami Swati condemned the incident saying that the mosque, the prayer leader and worshippers had nothing to do with this incident. He said some “rogue elements” in the area had attacked the police officers.

It was the responsibility of the district administration and the police to prevent congregations inside mosques, but it was regretful that the prayer leaders were being arrested, he added.

Magistrate seeks reports

A judicial magistrate on Friday directed the DIG West and SSP concerned to submit reports of inquiry into the alleged incident of manhandling of a female station house officer in Orangi Town.

The judicial magistrate (West) Asif Ali Abbasi also told both the officers to submit their respective reports to the court on the next date of hearing.

The magistrate ordered the action after taking notice of an incident where the Pirabad police station’s SHO Sharafat Khan was allegedly manhandled and wounded by some people outside a mosque in the Orangi Town area.

SHO Sharafat Khan had reportedly gone to the mosque and asked the management to comply with the government’s ban on Friday prayer congregations.

The video clips of the alleged incident that went viral on the social media suggested that the cops, including the female officer, were manhandled by the mob.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2020

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