RAHIM YAR KHAN: In two recent social media posts — an audio call recording and a video clip — allegedly posted by dacoits of katcha area, local police have been warned of revenge for targeting “innocent people” in connection with Bhong temple attack.
The posts surfaced on social media after the recent incident of vandalism at Bhong Hindu temple that caused embarrassment for the government with regard to security of the minority communities in the country.
Following the incident, the Supreme Court on Aug 13 had ordered the Punjab police chief to take action, with the assistance of the provincial government, against the dacoits having hideouts in katcha area in Rahim Yar Khan district bordering the Sindh and Balochistan provinces.
The police arrested more than hundred people in connection with the temple attack and produced them in various anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) for their physical remand.
In the video clip, an unidentified man claiming to be sort of a spokesperson for the dacoits alleged that police were arresting their “innocent people” in connection with the temple incident.
The ‘dacoit’ in the video clip said because of the police “atrocities” they were compelled to hide in sugarcane fields. He also accused some of the police officials of committing blasphemy. He dared the police to arrest them, saying they would “teach a lesson to police”.
The “dacoit’ warned police against hurting some locals (by naming them) and threatened to take revenge if these people were harmed.
Similarly, in the audio recording of a call allegedly made by one Zafar Ali Umrani on the mobile phone of a station house officer, Abdul Ghaffar, the police officer was threatened for arresting his (Umrani’s) uncle, nephews and some other relatives, including women, in connection with Bhong incident case.
Umrani alleged he was declared a dacoit for refusing to pay RsI million as bribe to police.
“Do not worsen the situation in the area,” Umrani warned the SHO in the recorded phone conversation.
District police spokesperson Ahmed Nawaz Cheema told Dawn that police were busy in Muharram security arrangements and deal with the issue after Youm-i-Ashur.
He said he had seen the social media posts, but added that it was not clear yet that from which area these dacoits belonged.
He said first the police would identify the dacoits and then further investigate the matter.
He said the Supreme Court had ordered the Punjab police inspector general to clear the katcha area of RYK of dacoits and now the Punjab government would decide the future course of action in this regard.
Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2021