A police constable died on Friday from injuries suffered when residents of a colony raided by a Multan Electric Power Company team on an anonymous tip put up resistance to severing of illegal connections.
Twenty of the villagers were arrested and cases were registered against more than 50.
Saddar police said Mepco officials had been informed that residents of the colony in Chak 37/D near Deepalpur in Okara district had been stealing electricity. The colony has nearly 300 houses.
A Mepco task force, headed by Sub Divisional Officer Liaqat Ali of Haveli Lakha sub division, raided the colony and found that residents had connected wires to the electricity poles.
The SDO was accompanied by seven workers and three policemen.
When the workers started cutting the wires, more than 20 residents of the colony tried to stop them.
The SDO refused to listen to them and directed the workers to continue disconnecting the illegal installations.
In about 10 minutes, police said, more than 100 men attacked the Mepco workers and police with sticks and iron rods.
Some of them used firearms, injuring Constable Muhammad Ahmed.
The police headquarters was informed and reinforcements were called. However, the assailants had fled by the time help arrived. At least 11 Mepco officials were injured in the episode.
The injured were taken to tehsil headquarters hospital, from where Ahmed was referred to district headquarters hospital. He died on the way.
THQ hospital Medical Superintendent Shahid Farooq said five of the 13 injured admitted to the hospital were in critical condition. These included two policemen, the SDO and the task force in charge.
DSP Imtiaz Ahmed said an FIR had been registered against 55 assailants with the Saddar police. Of these, he said, 20 had been arrested.
Funeral prayers for the deceased constable were offered at his home town, Qasmana. Sahiwal Division RPO Shehzada Sultan and Okara DPO Raja Basharat attended the funeral.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2013.
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