In yet another case of police brutality in Sindh, a 25-year-old student of University of Sindh was picked up by the police from the varsity’s hostel in Jamshoro on February 10 and shot dead in an alleged encounter on Sunday in Sukkur district.
The police claimed that the deceased, 25-year-old Irfan Jatoi, was part of a car lifting gang, besides being involved in robberies and other crimes. But the family maintains that he was an innocent student.
The alleged encounter took place on the National Highway in the limits of Jhangro Police Station. The police claimed that three of Jatoi’s accomplices escaped.
“The police received a tip-off that some outlaws have been seen...with the noticeable intent of committing a robbery,” said SSP Sukkur Irfan Samo.
According to him, the suspects opened fire on the police as soon as the police party reached the crime scene. He was wanted in several crimes by the police of different districts, Samo claimed, adding that details of his crimes were being collected from other districts.
Meanwhile, Jatoi’s family filed a petition in the Jamshoro district and sessions court a day after he was allegedly picked up by the Hyderabad and Jamshoro police from the SU’s International Hostel. Two of his friends were also arrested. The family claims that Jatoi remained missing since February 10.
The court summoned the district police on February 18 but the police expressed a lack of knowledge about his arrest. Jatoi’s family alleges that the Sukkur Police were demanding bribes for his release for the last three weeks.
A police source claimed that Jatoi was involved in stealing a vehicle belonging to a relative of a Sukkur-based politician. “He had agreed to return the vehicle but backtracked on his promise after which he was arrested.”
A young man named #IrfanJatoi has been found dead & claimed by Sukkur Police to have been killed in an encounter and was wanted criminal whereas many claiming on social media that he was abducted from Sindh Uni few days ago. An internal inquiry must be held by IG under Sec 5 ATA https://t.co/XErp6VdHiW— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) March 8, 2021
Rights activist Jibran Nasir, while urging the provincial police to launch an inquiry under Section 5 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, claimed that Sukkur police killed the student in a fake encounter. They declared him a wanted criminal with many claiming on social media that he was abducted from Sindh University a few days ago, he said.
Nasir said that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of provincial home minister, must issue a statement on this incident, which has raised many questions.
“History of encounters in Sindh is tainted with repeated abuse of power and encounter specialists enjoying undue patronage of government," he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2021.