Jewellery market robbery sparks protest in Karachi
KARACHI: Police resorted to teargas shelling and a baton charge to push back the shopkeepers agitating against the early morning robbery of four jewellery shops and marching on the police station in Landhi on Monday.
Dawn News reported that, Shopkeepers said that between eight and 10 gunmen came in a truck to the Babar Market at around 7am. They trussed up the market watchman, Mehmood, and cut open the locks of the shops with the tools they had brought along, and made off with jewellery worth millions of rupees.
Police said that four shops — Hasan Jewellers, Al Basit Jewellers, Makkah Jewellers and Al-Umair Jewellers — were targeted by the suspects.
Shopkeepers claimed that the four shops were cleaned out by the suspects who, according to them, did not leave behind even a single piece of jewellery.
Police did not have a specific figure as to how much worth of jewellery was taken away, but the shopkeepers claimed that they had suffered losses running into millions of rupees. Following the robbery, the shopkeepers took to the streets to lodge their protest against robberies.
The chairman of the Karachi Sarafa Market Association, Haji Haroon Chand, said the robbers took away 1,100 grams of gold, worth around Rs3.3 million.
“We have postponed a strike plan on the assurance of the authorities, but if progress is not made in a week, we will review our decision,” Haroon Chand said.
He said the watchman used to stay inside the main market, but recently someone from the market gave an application to the police seeking his removal from the market. He was, therefore, present outside the market’s gate, where he was seized and trussed up by the suspects.
The watchman had the key to the main gate of the market, but the suspects broke open the lock, Mr Chand said.
The shopkeepers blocked the main road and chanted slogans against the police and government authorities for their failure to protect their properties.
Police said that there was no closed-circuit television camera installed inside the market which could have proved helpful in the investigation.
The protest continued for several hours during which the participants pelted the police with stones and the police responded by firing teargas shells and resorting to a baton charge to disperse the crowd. The agitators also burnt old tyres to lodge their protest.
It appeared that the police were determined not to allow the protesters to reach in front of the Landhi police station to stage a protest there once again.
Last week the same area witnessed a similar situation when area people staged a protest against robberies in shops in the area. They burnt tyres in front of the Landhi police station, blocking the road for several hours.
The president of the jewellers group said that ever since the gold prices had risen, acts of robberies at jewellery shops had sharply increased.
He recalled that last week a similar robbery took place in the Kharadar area, where robbers took away jewellery worth Rs 45 million.
Police registered a case (32/2010) under Sections 392 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Mazarullah Shaikh, one of the owners of the shops. Police said that all the four shopkeepers had lodged a single FIR against unknown suspects.[google-map]
Police resorted to teargas shelling and a baton charge to push back the shopkeepers agitating against the early morning robbery of four jewellery shops and marching on the police station in Landhi on Monday.