LAHORE, March 13: Police arrested six Sunni Tehreek (ST) activists on Sunday when they manhandled Elite Police personnel and resorted to aerial firing to terrify them outside the shrine of Hazrat Pir Makki near Data Darbar, witnesses said.Scores of ST activists pelted the police with stones and raised slogans against the police for arresting their colleagues.
Witnesses and police said when two Elite police officials manning the entrance of the shrine stopped a woman and a man for frisking, two ST activists asked the policemen to allow the woman into the shrine. The police officials, however, refused which led to the exchange of hot words and scuffle between the two sides.
The Elite officials called reinforcement and arrested the two workers for interference in security affairs. Dozens of ST workers attending a conference at an adjoining madrassa arrived at the spot to help out the ST workers. Some armed workers resorted to aerial firing and the police replied them in the same coin which later led to scuffles.
Witnesses said the police chased and arrested four more protesters, including ST leaders Mujahid Abdul Rasool and Shahid Rasool, which provoked ST's senior leaders who also arrived at the scene along with dozens of workers and joined the agitation.
Situation remained tense in the highly sensitive area for a few hours.
Lower Mall SHO Chaudhry Naveed Azam said the police resorted to aerial firing to disperse ST workers and in self-defence as the organisation's security guards and activists had opened fire.
City Division SP Shahzad Asif told Dawn ST workers tried to help the woman who wanted to skip frisking. He said the policemen following standard operating procedures refused to oblige them.
He said strict security guidelines were being followed after two suicide attacks on Ali Hajveri (RA) shrine which had claimed lives of dozens of people.
He said ST workers had displayed weapons and also resorted to aerial firing to terrify the police which was a criminal act.
He said six activists had been taken into custody by the police.