Rangers open fire on protest crowd


Sarfaraz Memon July 27, 2010

SUKKUR: A man identified as Adeel Memon was injured when the Rangers opened fire on a mob of men, who had blocked the National Highway near the Thehri bypass on Tuesday in protest against prolonged and unannounced power outages.

Hundreds of people from Thehri led by Imdad Ali Memon, Shabbir Memon and Shafiq Memon, among others, shouted slogans against the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) officials, who, protesters claimed, were responsible for prolonged power cuts across the town. They added that the officials had yet to replace the transformers that were no longer working in the area.

They burnt tyres and blocked the highway for more than three hours, causing a traffic jam, during which time they also threw stones at passing cars.

While the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) had announced three-hour power cuts, the people of Thehri face blackouts that last for up to 16 hours, protesters claimed. They also accused Hesco officials of demanding bribes to fix the malfunctioning or broken transformers.

When the ASP reached the scene and asked the protesters to end their demonstration, the latter attacked the police, after which the Rangers were called in to control the situation.

However, the protesters started throwing stones at them as well, after which the Rangers were forced to fire in the air to break up the mob.

Memon was injured in an ensuing stampede. He was taken to Civil Hospital Khairpur.

Meanwhile, SP investigations arrived at the scene and assured the protesters that the matter will be taken up with the Hesco administration.

He also assured them that the broken transformers will be fixed within 12 hours, after which the mob dispersed.

Two out of the four broken transformers were later repaired by the Hesco administration.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2010.

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