Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Police assault crowd protesting killing of brothers in Karachi

*Demonstrators attack police station after officials refuse to register case
* TV crew baton charged along with protesters

LAHORE: Police used batons and fired tear gas shells to disperse violent demonstrators who had attacked a police station in Karachi, a private TV channel reported on Monday, after a case was not registered against the killing of two brothers during a robbery.

According to the channel, a large number of people had come out onto the streets to protest against police for not registering a case. The protesters initially burned tyres and hurled stones at parked vehicles, and then attacked Landhi No 4 police station. The protesters also fired at the station – prompting police to baton charge the crowd, including the channel’s crew. Police also fired tear gas shells to disburse the protesters. The Karachi CCPO told the channel he would take stern action against those responsible for assaulting the channel’s coverage staff. He said that action would also be taken against police officials if they had refused to register a case.

Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza said he had already directed the CCPO to investigate the matter and bring those responsible to book. He said he had also ordered the suspension of policemen who baton charged the journalists.

The brothers were gunned down when they resisted a robbery attempt at their shop in a market opposite the Landhi police station.

Three armed motorcyclists arrived at the market at around 5:30pm. Initially, two of the men entered the brothers’ shop and ordered the shopkeepers to pack some veils. As the veils were being packed, the men took out their guns and told everybody in the shop to hand over their cell phones and cash.

The owner of the shop – Arshad, 36 – tried to resist, but the robbers shot him and his younger brother, Sajid, 31, before escaping. The brothers were rushed to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where both of them died.

“We have found two empty shells of 9mm pistols,” SHO Azam Baloch told Daily Times.

“Both victims lived in the upper storey of the building that houses the shop. The brothers were trying to protect their salesman,” said the officer.

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