TOBA TEK SINGH: In a harrowing case of mob justice, eight dacoits were beaten to death by villagers enraged by their looting spree late on Sunday night. First they encircled the gang of 16 robbers and then launched their ruthless assault, freely using clubs and bricks.
Eight of the alleged robbers were lucky to escape the wrath of the mob. Police failed to rescue the captured dacoits. The villagers flew into a rage after coming to know that the gang of robbers had attacked two houses and injured their inmates, including a woman, by using firearms after they put up resistance to their robbery bid. One of the dacoits was identified as brother of a police constable.
Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif has ordered an inquiry into the incident while villagers have demanded that the government provide them security and justice. According to details, 16 armed dacoits reached the model village 332-GB Jakhra near Pir Mahal at around 12:30 am. They entered the house of one Haji Abdul Sattar, currently in Saudi Arabia, by scaling the walls. They first locked up his wife Shahnaz Akhtar and five children in a room and then grabbed Rs 125,000 in cash, gold ornaments, wristwatches, mobile phones and precious cloths.
This done, some of them fled with the loot, while 10 of them entered the neighbouring house of Allah Ditta. As they attempted to make the inmates hostage at gunpoint, Allah Ditta and his two sons put up some resistance. At this, the robbers opened fire, injuring Allah Ditta, his wife Manzuran Bibi and son Shabaz. Meanwhile, announcements were made from village mosques about the attack, prompting villagers to come out in droves. They surrounded the cars of the dacoits and captured eight of them.
Chatiana police arrived at the scene and tried to arrest the dacoits but the villagers did not relent till they beat them to death. They also destroyed the cars they had come in. Police took the bodies to Chatiana rural health centre where they were identified as Saqlin Abbas, Muhammad Iqbal, Muhammad Asim, Ghulam Abbas, Haibat Khan, Ashfaq, Rab Nawaz and Muzaffar. Police have registered a case, No.120/10 , and launched investigations.
The villagers injured in the clash were referred to district headquarters hospital, where two of them are said to be in serious condition. The area MPA Mahar Umar Hayat Kathia said the deceased were innocent as they had no previous criminal history. Their relatives put the bodies on railway track in protest but were convinced by regional police officer to disperse.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 11th, 2010.