LAHORE – Police here on Saturday booked more than 200 people, including 15 rickshaw drivers, who had clashed with cops on Friday and created a lawlessness-like situation during their protest at the Babu Sabu Interchange against traffic police. However, no arrests were made in this regard till this writing.

Sources said that a case, under section (353/186/324/148/144 and 290-291), was registered, nominating the protesting rickshaw drivers in the FIR.

The Babu Sabu Interchange locality had turned into a battlefield after protesting rickshaw drivers went on the rampage, thrashed policemen, and pelted the cops with stones.

The police also used batons and thrashed the drivers, who were unwilling to suspend their pylon protest, which had resulted in the worst traffic mess and power breakdown in the area. The electricity guys had to suspend the supply after they learnt that many of the protesters had scaled one of the pylons in the protest area.

Hundreds of rickshaw drivers had taken part in the demonstration against everyday traffic tickets and huge fines being imposed on them by the wardens in the City. They had blocked the main road in the Babu Sabu area by setting the tyres on fire.

The clash, which had left more than 10 people including policemen injured, erupted when one of the drivers climbed up a high-voltage electricity pole to protest against the traffic police’s highhandedness and excessive challans. Later, more auto-drivers had followed him.

The protest had stemmed from an incident early Friday in which a traffic warden intercepted a rickshaw driver, later identified as Muhammad Mazhar Khan, near the Babu Sabu Interchange, on the Bund Road, and issued him a ticket. The driver, who said he had not violated any rules, had earlier been challaned several times.

As the driver protested against his repeated challans, the traffic warden gave him a good thrashing. Soon a good number of drivers gathered near the Interchange and started their protest. They said that the traffic wardens were imposing excessive challans on the poor auto-drivers.

Meanwhile, Chief Traffic Officer Sarfraz Falki has suspended Inspector Sajid Jameel and Traffic Warden Ihtesham for torturing the auto-rickshaw driver and issuing excessive challans. The action came on Saturday. A departmental inquiry has also been marked against them. SP City Traffic Police Mustafa Hameed Kamal and DSP Saddar Ikram Ullah Malik will report to the CTO within couple of days in this regard.