FAISALABAD: At least 18 people were injured in Faisalabad on Friday during the Basant celebrations despite a ban on kite-flying under the Section 144 of the Criminal .
Most injuries were of slit throats from the string used to fly kites and wounds from stray bullets. Five of the 14 injured admitted to the Civil Hospital were in critical condition. The remaining four were admitted to Allied Hospital.
Thirty five people were arrested in 30 cases registered in connection with the violation of Section 144. The police seized 68 sacks of kite string, of which 40 were of chemical-coated string, and more than 8,000 kites.
District Coordination Officer Naseem Sadiq told The Express Tribune that his teams tried their best to ensure compliance with the ban on kite flying. Kite flying, aerial firing and use of loud speakers however were reported in Tariqabad and Nighaban Pura in Civil Lines police precinct, Samanabad and Khalidabad in Fatcory Area police precinct and Islamnagar in Ghulam Muhammadabad police precinct. Basant celebrations were also reported in areas surrounding Satiana Road, Jaranwala Road and Gulberg.
Talking to The Tribune, some youngsters said they did not want to violate the law but they did not see why flying kites was an illegal act. “The loss of life is a separate issue. The government should impose a ban on chemical-coated string instead of depriving us of the fun and excitement associated with the event,” said Amir Ali, a Ghulam Muhammadabad resident.
Police spokesman Amir Waheed said the police were using all means to stop the violations of the ban. He said they had arrested several people and seized kites and string. He said ensuring complete compliance with the ban was not possible because people were on rooftops. “We cannot enter houses without proper search warrants. The only way to respond was to climb to their roofs using ladders,” he said. He said there were only a limited number of ladders available with the police.
Two cops injured in
Two policemen, including the Factory Area station house officer, were injured on Friday in an assault by locals in Khalidabad. SHO Yasin Jutt and a constable had raided the place on a complaint about aerial firing.
Jutt said they made announcements asking people to stop kite flying and aerial firing. He said when no one listened to the warnings they decided to climb onto a roof to arrest the violators but were prevented when people from surrounding rooftops started throwing stones at them. He said they had to run to save their lives.
DCO Sadiq had imposed Section 144 a day earlier on Thursday in connection with the ban on Basant.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2011.