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Passerby burnt during jewellers’ protest

Passerby burnt during jewellers’ protest

RAWALPINDI: A passerby sustained critical burn injuries after someone threw a burning tyre on him during a protest against a robbery in Sarafa Bazaar on Monday.

Abdul Mateen, 37, associated with a commercial bank, was returning home when he found a large number of protesters blocking Murree Road at Waris Khan at about 1:30pm. The protesters were chanting slogans against the police for its failure to arrest the culprits and recover the looted jewellery.

When Mr Mateen tried to avoid the protesters, he found some of them sprinkling petrol on an old tyre.

“Within moments, the protesters threw the burning tyre away that landed on Mr Mateen,” Mohammad Tahir, the younger brother of the injured, told Dawn.

He said the injured was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital and later shifted to Islamabad with more than 27 per cent burns.

Around 250 jewellers, led by the president of the jewellers’ association, Khawaja Sohail Sadiq, gathered on the road carrying placards inscribed with demands for the arrest of the robbers who took away about three kilogrammes of gold jewellery from a shop at Sarafa Bazaar on Wednesday night.

The association observed a shutter-down strike on Thursday against the robbery.

Scores of women also participated in the protest and claimed that the looted jewellery belonged to them.

“Who will compensate us, the jeweller or the police,” said one of the protesting women.

The president of the jewellers’ association said: “Police have been doing nothing for the arrest of the culprits and the recovery of the jewellery.”

He said the jewellers would observe another shutter-down strike for three days if the culprits were not arrested.

When asked about the injured passerby, he acknowledged that a mishap had happened during the protest.

“The injured was not among the protesters and he was a passerby.”

On the other hand, the regional police officer suspended one of his staff members for keeping him in the dark about the Wednesday robbery at the jewellery shop for several hours.

According to police sources, the RPO knew about the robbery after the inspector general of the police telephoned him and sought details about the incident.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2015

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