KARACHI - At least one man was killed and several injured in Karachi Tuesday when a riot broke out in protest at the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl.

Crowds took to the streets after the body of the victim was discovered late Monday, blocking a main road in Orangi Town in western Karachi where they hurled stones at riot police.

Seven-year-old Rabia, a resident of Orangi Town, went missing on April 15 when she was playing outside her home with children. The family got a missing complaint registered at Orangi Town police station Monday morning. The police, however, found her body from the garbage dump in Manghopir area.

The police then registered a murder case against three relatives of the victim and arrested two of them, Rahim and Fazal. The third culprit, Faqir Muhammad, went into hiding to avoid arrest.

The family of the victim complained the police found the body, but they did not inform them. The victim’s body was moved to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Her initial autopsy report confirmed the minor was sexually abused before being strangulated to death. The victim had also torture marks on her body. The police collected samples of the two suspects and sent the same for DNA tests.

District West SSP Omar Shahid Hamid said the police were waiting for the DNA test reports of the suspects and trying to arrest the third accused.

A large number of people, including the family and relatives of the victim, staged a protest over the incident when they were on their way to the MPR Colony graveyard to bury the victim. They reached Manghopir Road and chanted slogans to condemn the gruesome incident.

A man who was the father of six children was killed during the protest as the police baton-charged and tear-gassed the protesters to disperse them. They also allegedly resorted to aerial firing and straight firing on the protesters.

The situation took an ugly turn after some unidentified persons started forcing shopkeepers to close their businesses in the area. They also started attacking passing vehicles with stones. To control the situation, extra contingents of law enforcers reached the site and tried to disperse the protesters, which caused the clash between the police and the protesters, turning the area into a battlefield for at least two hours.

SSP Omar Shahid said some political party workers took advantage of the situation for point-scoring, spoiled the law and order situation and attacked the police with stones; as a result, several policemen were injured.

The deceased, identified as 43-year-old Ilyas, son of Haider Ali, lost life in the clash. In addition, over a dozen other protesters were also wounded in the police baton-charge. Orangi Town SHO Sabir Khattak was among at least one dozen policemen also injured in the clash with the protesters.

The police arrested about two dozen protesters for taking law into their hands while separate cases would be registered against them.

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal ordered the additional inspector general of police to probe the incident. The additional IGP appointed DIG Administration Asim Khan as an inquiry officer over the use of force against the protesters. IGP AD Khawaja also took notice of the incident and directed the district West police to present a report.

PTI leaders, Dr Arif Alvi and Imran Ismail, condemned the use of police force during the protest. “The police opened fire on the protesters,” said PTI leader Imran Ismail. “They should not turn Karachi into another Gaza. We will show them now how a protest is staged. The police say their men have been injured, but it is not true,” both the PTI leaders said.

According to Imran Ismail, PTI will get a case registered against the killing of their worker in the police firing.

The body was taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. “It’s the people’s right to lodge protest,” said PTI MNA Dr Arif Alvi. “Instead of taking action against the culprits, the police opened fire on those demanding justice,” he said.