LAHORE, Feb 25: Ten people, six of them children, were killed while hundreds of others received multiple injuries on Sunday as Lahorites celebrated Basant, ignoring official calls for responsible kite-flying.
Allowing the sport on Feb 24 and 25, the provincial government and administration had warned the people to refrain from using dangerous twine and fireworks. It had also warned against indulging in firing in the air.
"This year, there has been an unprecedented show of firing in the air," admitted a senior police official.
A child was also killed in Faisalabad and about a dozen youths were injured in Sialkot.
In the provincial capital, the casualties were caused by razor-sharp strings, firing and people’s bid to catch stray kites on roads or roofs of their houses.
Eleven-year-old Umer Farooq was killed in Gulshan-i-Ravi when the string of a stray kite slit his throat.
Farooq’s relatives and people of the area wanted to lodge a murder case against the Punjab government. On police refusal, they held a demonstration and raised slogans against the chief minister and the district nazim for allowing kite-flying.
In another incident, Haider Ali was killed when a stray bullet pierced through his head while he was on the roof of his house in New Samanabad.
A stray bullet also hit eight-year-old Hassan Nadeem while was celebrating the festival on the roof of his house in Mozang. Nadeem, a class II student, was rushed to the Ganga Ram Hospital with severe injuries. From there, he was referred to the General Hospital where he died.
Danish, 13, died when he slipped from the roof of his house while catching a stray kite in Khudad Street in Baghbanpura.
Maryam, 8, received a stray bullet while he was in her house in Garden Town and died at the General Hospital.
A 50-year-old woman, Naheed Taranum, fell from the roof of her house in Rang Mahal while she was trying to protect one of her children involved in kite-flying.
Shareef, 14, fell fall from the roof of his house in Shafiqabad and was killed. He was trying to catch a stray kite.
Imran, 20, was run over by a car on a Defence road while running after a stray kite.
In his bid to get a stray kite stuck in an electricity pole, an unidentified youth was electrocuted in Qilla Gujjar Singh.
In a similar attempt, Saif, 8, was killed on the roof of his house in Faisal Town.
Hospital sources said about 600 people were admitted to different health facilities in the city.
SSP Operations Aftab Ahmed Cheema said that by 10pm on Sunday, three people were killed -- two from firing -- and 18 others injured.
Police claimed to have arrested 800 people for violation of the ban on firing, kite-flying rules and hooliganism.