Jhang Bazaar police on Tuesday registered a case against more than a dozen people including two factory owners for assaulting two theft suspects and shaving their heads on Monday.
Shakeel and Tauseef were rescued by a police team from a mob who that caught them and were beating them at a factoyr in Liaqatabad.
SHO Rana Abdur Rehman said there was no evidence to suggest that Shakeel and Tauseef were trying to steal from a factory in Liaquatabad. He said the two men earned their living by collecting and selling garbage from streets. “They said they were looking for abandoned papers in the factory when some workers caught them and accused them of theft,” he said. The SHO said an FIR had been registered against the factory owners, Shahadat and Maulvi Jabbar, and over a dozen workers under Section 337 (shajjah) of the Pakistan Penal Code. He said raids were underway to arrest Shahadat and Jabbar who had gone into hiding. “If they had suspected the two men of theft they should have called the police to the scene and handed them into police custody for further interrogation. Detaining people and assaulting them over a suspicion is not acceptable,” the SHO said.
According to the FIR registered on a complaint filed by Shakeel, factory owners were called to the scene by workers who had held them, accusing them of breaking in with intention to steal. “The owners called more workers and ordered them to shave our heads,” the FIR stated. It said they had entered the factory to collect paper waste.
Talking to The Express Tribune, complainant Shakeel said selling garbage he collected from the streets to junkyards was his only means of sustaining his family of eight people. “I and Tauseef had entered the factory premises to pick up some papers we spotted on the ground,” he said. He said they were picking up the papers when some workers came and started beating them.
Speaking to The Tribune over telephone, one of the owners, Maulvi Jabbar insisted that the two men had entered the factory with an intention to steal equipment. “They are notorious as drug addicts. They steal stuff to pay for their drugs,” he said. He alleged that the police were reluctant to prosecute them for theft because the two regularly bribed officials at Jhang Bazaar police station.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2012.