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Four killed during disputed encounter

June 17, 2012

HYDERABAD/DADU, June 17: Four villagers were gunned down during a ‘police encounter’ on the Super Highway, at a place about two kilometres from the Jamshoro toll plaza, on Sunday.

Relatives of the villagers blocked a section of the highway, causing suspension of traffic for several hours. They lifted the blockade when DIG Sanaullah Abbasi agreed to lodge an FIR against the policemen who had taken part in the ‘encounter’.

The DIG has also asked SSP of Jamshoro to seek a judicial inquiry into the encounter.

The deceased were identified as Rajab Ali, 26, Ali Nawaz, 25, Ghulamuddin, 23, and Irfan Ali, 20.

According to Munir Shoro, a resident of Daboo Shoro in Kotri taluka, he and the villagers had taken mangoes to Karachi Sabzi Mandi on Saturday evening and left the city at about 2.30 am. They reached Jamshoro at around 5.30 am. “When we reached police post No-13, we were stopped by police,” he said.

He claimed that DSP Ghafoor Lakho snatched the Rs35,000 Rajab had earned by selling mangoes but when he tried to grab his locket Rajab resisted.

“Rajab argued with police who shot him and then fired on the other three. I was so shocked and scared that I ran away to the nearby hills. I reached home in Daboo Shoro village after walking for three to four kilometres,” he told this correspondent.

When the news of the killings reached Kotri, people of Shoro community came out of the village and blocked the Hyderabad-Kotri bridge in protest.

Some enraged youths entered the town’s bazaars to force shopkeepers to close shops, which caused a scuffle between them and shopkeepers. Several people, including district general secretary of PML-N Zahid Chandio and members of his family, were injured in the scuffle.

However, PML-N leaders including the divisional general secretary and district president said at press conference that Zahid Chandio’s house had been attacked by PPP activists. They demanded registration of an FIR against the culprits.

According to Kotri-based journalists, the forced closure of shops had led to the scuffle between PML-N activists and furious Shoro clansmen.

DIG Abbasi who had deputed SP Amjad Sheikh to talk to the protesters said that cases would be lodged because police claimed it was a genuine encounter while heirs of the deceased said the villagers were innocent. The SP later persuaded the protesters to lift the blockade.

FIR: According to SP Amjad Sheikh, an FIR has been lodged on the complaint of Munir Shoro against DSP Lakho, DSP of Nooriabad Manzoor Panwhar, SHO of Jamshoro Saeed Channa, sub-inspector Mohammad Ali Soomro, Khuda Bux Chachar and 14 to 15 other policemen.

No arrests were made till Sunday evening.

MNA: PPP’s MNA Nawab Abdul Ghani Talpur of Jamshoro has demanded a judicial inquiry into the killings of four men in encounter. An enquiry should be conducted and victims should get justice.

DSP Lakho had claimed earlier that eight robbers were looting a gram-laden truck of Azam Khan Awan, a resident of Khushab, on the Super Highway near Jamshoro. When a police party led by ASI Mohammad Ali challenged them, the robbers opened fire.

Police returned fire and the encounter lasted for about half an hour, in which four robbers were killed and four others managed to escape.

He claimed that police had found three Kalashnikovs and two pistols and 50 bags of grams in the possession of the robbers.

Two policemen Nazir Hussain and driver Khalid Hussain were injured in the shootout.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has talked to MPA Sikandar Shoro and the DIG on phone and directed additional secretary of home to order a judicial inquiry into the incident, reports PPI.