TT Singh: ‘It’s custodial killing’
TOBA TEK SINGH: The 13 alleged dacoits from the gypsy tribe killed in a reported crossfire at a farmhouse in Sahiwal were already under the custody of Kassowal police, a relative of the deceased claims.
Talking to Dawn, the elder said that on Feb 6 Sadiq, Zulfiqar and Iftikhar were taking tea in a hotel in Kassowal when police took them into custody on suspicion best known to them. When the tribe came to know about their arrest, they approached Kamalia Saddar SI Liaqat Ali for their release through bribe. The SI asked the tribesmen to accompany him to Kassowal for the release of the arrested men. Their relatives — Shareef, Amanat and taxi driver Anwar — left in a car for Kamalia to see the SI. When they reached Lundoo Canal in Toba Tek Singh, Kassowal police intercepted the car and arrested the three and took them to Kassowal.
On Feb 7, Kassowal police raided Chak 325-JB in Dullam, three kilometres from Toba Tek Singh, and arrested three more men of the tribe. Those arrested in the raid were Murtaza, alias Dholli, Ilyas and Ashraf. The policemen also raided Chak 152-GB in Bhindian, five kilometres from Toba Tek Singh, and arrested Siddiq while another gypsy Rafiq was arrested in Chak 335-GB.
Then police raided Chak 336-GB in Nia Saraba and arrested Sharif and Bashir, alias Bagga, and took all to Kassowal.
Talking to Dawn, heirs to the alleged dacoits that include Muneeran Bibi, Naseer, Hakim Ali, Iftikhar and Khan Muhammad claimed their kin were killed in a staged encounter planned by Sahiwal police.
A source said that when Kassowal police interrogated the three gypsies arrested in a hotel, they admitted to several crimes and also that about one year ago they had looted the house of Sardar Najeeb in Chak 1339-L, Sahiwal. Their hundreds of relatives staged a sit-in on Toba-Chichawatni Road on Monday demanded the police hand over the bodies of killed people to them. Sahiwal police, however, buried the bodies in Sahiwal.
Hundreds of gypsies, also known as ‘Oadh’ live in tents at deserted places along railway tracks. In the last two decades, many of them have settled in Toba Tek Singh, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Jhang and Faisalabad. Also a number of their youths has gone to Gulf and other Arab countries on labour visas. A few years ago, a gang of two dozens gypsies was arrested for highway robberies, dacoities, thefts and other crimes. They were also charged with raping women during dacoities.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.