A father and son were killed while six sustained injuries during a clash in Hunza between the police and Attabad Lake victims who demanded compensation for losses incurred as a result of the natural calamity.
The clash erupted after some victims tried to get compensation from a local bank but were sent back on the pretext that there was “no money in the relevant account”.
“They came out of the bank enraged and started protesting against the government just before the arrival of the chief minister who was supposed to distribute cheques among the victims,” a police official said.
Officials said that the deputy superintendent police was hit by stones pelted by the protesters which prompted the police to open fire. “It seemed like a battleground,” said Syed Jan, a resident of Hunza.
The mob of protesters also set on fire a police station, the deputy commissioner’s house and office, and a police vehicle, a police official from Aliabad in Hunza told The Express Tribune.
Deputy Commissioner Gilgit Asad Zamin however said that one person was killed while six were injured. “Three of the injured are government officials while the other three are civilians,” he said.
The riots spread to Gulmit, another area of Hunza, where a mob torched another police station. Protesters also forced the suspension of boat services, besides closing down the Sost dry port. People from the Gojal area of Hunza also went to Aliabad to protest the killings of the father and son who reportedly belonged to Shishkat, one of the four villages submerged by the Attabad Lake. People in Gilgit also took to the streets chanting slogans against the government.
Those killed have been identified as Sherullah Baig and his son Sher Afzal
The news of riots forced G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah to cut short his visit and return to Gilgit. A massive landslide in 2010 killed 20 people and displaced hundreds after the Attabad Lake submerged four villages. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced that the victims would be compensated. However, victims say they have not received any funds despite a lapse of several months.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.
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