A man was shot dead when the police allegedly opened fire on protesters during a protest against prolonged load shedding on Thursday. However, the police denied the allegations, saying that the man was shot by a local resident who had a verbal brawl with protesters on Wednesday.
According to local people, around 200 villagers of Suraizai village, in the Saddar circle, held a protest against extended power outages on Wednesday, followed by a rally on Thursday during which they marched up to Syphen Chowk, from where some of the elders went to a police post at Inquilab Road.
“When the elders went to the police post to hold talks with the police, they fired warning shots. A stray bullet hit a young man and killed him,” Sifatullah, a local resident told The Express Tribune.
The police held a local butcher responsible for the murder. Some of the protesters had a ‘verbal brawl’ with the butcher, according to Sifatullah.
However the butcher was not present at the place where the incident took place. “He was at his shop at Syphen Chowk when the procession proceeded to the police post,” Saifatullah.
The deceased has been identified as Rahib, 22, a resident of Suraizai Bala village on the Kohat Road.
Later, the villagers took Rahib’s body to the Peshawar Press Club and held a protest demonstration against his killing.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sajjad Khan, in-charge of the Saddar circle, said the firing took place between an Afghan butcher and the protesters. He added that the police was not involved in any act of violence.
He said the villagers had clashed with the butcher on Wednesday and again on Thursday, which resulted in Rahib’s death.
The police had arrested some people on the spot. However, Khan said he did not have exact details concerning those arrested; Rahib’s family had accused five people for his killing, Khan said.
The local police station could not be contacted for their version of the incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.
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