FAISALABAD: Enraged by a constable getting injured in the firing by unknown persons during a raid at a village of
Chak Jhumrah tehsil on Thursday night, police launched a house-to-house search there, violating the residents’ privacy, thrashing men and women and rounding up more than a dozen locals, besides “recovering weapons”.
Police said the operation had been launched to ensure writ of the state as during a raid on an outhouse for the arrest of two alleged killers of as many persons, unknown attackers opened fire, injuring a Constable, Haq Nawaz.
The police registered a case (No 660/21) within 15 minutes of the incidents against 15 persons, ten of them named, under sections 148, 149, 186, 324 and 353 of the PPC, 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and 13-2 (B) of the Punjab Arms Amendment Ordinance 2015.
According to locals, the operation was launched allegedly at the behest of a political personality. They alleged the policemen who entered their houses without any permission also misbehaved with the women and thrashed men.
They said instead of torturing and harassing innocent people, the police should have conducted intelligence-based operation to nab the actual culprits.
“The policemen were acting so recklessly that we felt we were under siege by some enemy force under the garb of police,” a local said.
The terrorised village residents also shared with the media some CCTV footage showing the policemen thrashing locals, including women.
On the other hand, the police claimed that Jhumra Station House Officer (SHO) Asif Nadeem had got a tip-off that the killers of two people – Rizwan and Muneeb – were hiding at the outhouse of one Sherazi Shah an Chak 187-JB, Kacha Jhumra, where some other proclaimed offenders were also present.
The SHO, along with a team, raided the outhouse where unidentified criminals opened fire on the police, injuring a constable in his foot, who was shifted to the local tehsil headquarters hospital, they added.
Police claimed that the suspects managed to escape from the scene, while empties and weapons used in the attack were recovered.
As per local sources, Chak Jhumrah is known for families having decades-old enmities and criminals taking shelter in the area with the alleged connivance of the police as well as locals.
They said the notorious Bajwa gang had also been operating in the area and its members had been involved in extortion with the alleged connivance of some officials of Sahianwala and Chak Jhumrah police stations. Due to this collusion, the area had been problematic for the senior police officers.
A couple of years ago, former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif had changed the entire police staff of the two police stations only to break the nexus between police and criminals, restoring peace in the area for a short span. However, locals complain, that crime gangs have reorganised themselves in the area, turning many spots in the district into ‘no-go areas’.
However, the police did not reveal the number of people arrested during the search operation and the details of the seized weapons.
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2021