An FIR has been registered against seven policemen, including the Fatehpur station house officer, for killing a robbery suspect in custody. Entire staff of the police station has been suspended from service.
The case was registered on the instruction of Layyah district police officer Saleem Chaudhry after the family of the deceased attacked Fatehpur police station on Wednesday and set fire to police vehicles.
The DPO told The Express Tribune that the police have already sent a request for a judicial inquiry into the killing of 25-year-old Allah Ditta. He said Civil Judge Ahmed Hassan will be the inquiry officer. He said three police teams have been formed to conduct raids for the arrest of the accused officials who are absconding. DPO Chaudhry said he had suspended all officials of the police station until the inquiry into the incident was complete and its findings available. He said the body of the deceased had been sent to Layyah district headquarters (DHQ) hospital for a post mortem examination.
On Wednesday, a mob had injured four constables and DSP Ali Raza in an attack on Fatehpur police station as well as a Rescue 15 help centre. The protestors also set ablaze six police vehicles parked outside the police station.
Earlier, they had placed the body of the deceased on the main road connecting Multan and Mianwali and blocked traffic for nearly seven hours. They held the police officials responsible for the death and demanded legal action officials against them.
Police had to fire rubber bullets at the protestors to force them to disperse from the scene. Three protestors were injured including one who lost an eye. They also called clerics from nearby mosques to settle the matter and persuade the protestors to disperse peacefully.
The police had earlier declared that Ditta committed suicide during his confinement at the police station. They had handed over the body with a rope around the neck to the family. The family rejected that Ditta had committed suicide and alleged that the police had tortured and killed him. Talking to The Tribune during Wednesday’s protest, they said there were torture scars on Ditta’s body. “It is not the first time Layyah police have killed someone in custody. Ditta could not have committed suicide,” they said. They also accused the police of wrongly implicating the deceased in the robbery case. They appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of extra-judicial killings by the police.
Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Jamshed Dasti visited the family and consoled with them on Thursday. Talking to media after the visit, Dasti criticised the provincial government for ‘using the police to suppress their opponents and protecting corrupt officers’. He said he would take up the issue at the upcoming National Assembly session.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.