KASUR: Punjab government on Friday approved financial compensation worth Rs500,000 for the family of a cracker vendor who was allegedly lynched at a wedding at Pattoki a couple of days back amid contradictory reports of the incident filed by police and the administration.

Official sources say the report on the incident submitted by the district administration contradicts the police and medical reports.

Ashraf alias Sultan, a rice cracker of Jaggowala village died mysteriously at a wedding held at a banquet hall at Pattoki on March 21.

The reports prepared by the Chunian assistant commissioner’s office and the tehsildar concerned confirmed that Ashraf was tortured to death by a mob at Aljannat Marriage Hall, Pattoki.

The reports further said the victim was unmarried, having no family of his own, and was living with his brother Aslam, who should be given the compensation amount.

It was suspected that the deceased was lynched by the wedding guests, taking him for a pick pocket, the reports said.

The incident was highlighted by the media for callousness of wedding guests who could be seen in a video clip having dinner, while the vendor’s body was lying in the banquet hall.

The police have so far arrested 12 suspects for their involvement in the incident, besides the owner of the banquet hall for deleting the CCTV camera footage of the episode.

Meanwhile, the medical report could not confirm torture of the victim, while the police also had no video or other evidence to show that the deceased was beaten up before he died.

However, the police claimed in the report to have video clips obtained from the CCTV camera, the movie maker and phones of wedding guests.

Sources said the police were waiting for the forensic report and some other solid and admissible evidence before arriving at any conclusion, while the administration report “confirmed” the vendor was brutally tortured to death by a mob.

The report, however, is silent on the reason for his lynching.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2022

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