Robbers, rapists on rampage in Punjab

2018-08-20T03:10:41+05:00 Ashraf Javed

LAHORE - Dacoits raped a 32-year-old woman at gunpoint during a house robbery in Lahore’s Gujjarpura last week.

Armed bandits, the same week, struck the provincial capital more than 240 times successfully and made off with cash, gold ornaments, and other valuables worth millions of rupees. Not enough, more than 50 cars and motorcycles were also driven away from different parts of the metropolis.

Police record reveals at least 25 armed robberies are taking place in Lahore on a daily basis in addition to over a dozen vehicle theft incidents.

Last week, according to police, three dacoits forced their entry into a house and held up the family members at gunpoint. The gunmen locked the children and male members into a room. Then, they took the woman to an adjacent room where they raped her one by one. The desperate criminals also collected cash, gold ornaments, and other valuables worth one million rupees and fled.

A close relative of the victim family told the police that the robbers remained present in the house for more than three hours. The police reached the spot when the robbers had escaped. The police registered a criminal case against unidentified gunmen on Thursday but failed to make any breakthrough so far.

A police spokesman last week claimed that Lahore DIG (Operations) Shahzad Akbar visited the crime scene along with SP Civil Lines Muhammad Afzal, Gujjarpura DSP and SHO. The DIG assured the victim family that the criminals would be brought to justice very soon. He said that special raiding teams were also constituted to identify and arrest the criminals.

However, no arrest was made yet as the police investigators have failed to trace and arrest rapists-cum-robbers.

This gruesome incident sparked fear and anger in the densely populated locality as dozens of people gathered outside the victim’s house. They also chanted slogans against the police over worsening law and order situation in Lahore.

During the last couple of weeks, the provincial capital witnessed a sizeable surge in the incidents of armed robberies. Dacoits robbed families, passersby, and motorists at gunpoint in every nook and corner of the city and fled with impunity. Also, dozens of people were deprived of their bikes and cars, just a few days before Eid-ul-Azha.

The law and order situation is worsening day by day in the provincial capital in particular and across the province in general. Gangsters are looting motorists, families, and passersby with impunity while the surge in house robberies has also sent a shocking wave among the people of the province.  For an instance, bandits on Friday and Saturday hit the Punjab capital for more than 48 times and snatched away cash, gold ornaments, cellular phones, and other valuables worth millions of rupees.

The robbers equipped with pistols and riding on motorcycles committed most of the robberies in Sanda, Misri Shah, Johar Town, Mughalpura, North Cantonment, South Cantonment, Satu Katla, Liaqatabad, Shahdara Town, Iqbal Town, Lytton Road, Mozang, Ghaziabad, Gulberg, Defense-A, Defense-B, Sabzazar, Shera Kot and Nawan Kot police precincts.

On the other hand, rape during house robberies and murders on resistance during armed robberies are emerging as the most serious threat to the public all over the province. The police are unable to smash several organized gangs of rogue criminals involved in such heinous crimes and roaming freely.

The latest police figures show, over two dozen citizens were murdered by dacoits on putting up resisting during the first six months of 2018 in different districts of the Punjab province.

At least 330 incidents of dacoities (involving more than five gunmen) and 5792 armed robberies took place across the Punjab province during this year, from January to June.

The police data shows that at least 1587 rape and 103 gang-rape cases were registered with the provincial police during the same period.

Similarly, the police registered at least 7,854 cases of motor-vehicle theft and 1,544 cases of motor-vehicle snatching from January to June. Also, the police reported 2,619 cases of cattle theft during the same period.

A number of gangs are actively operating in big cities of the Punjab. Every year, more than 20,000 people are deprived of their vehicles either by thieves or robbers from across the province. Police only recover less than 10 percent of the total snatched or stolen vehicles while thousands of cases are declared as untraceable. Police sources believe that more than 300 armed robberies including house robberies are taking place daily in the Punjab province. However, the police report only 25 percent of the total crime incidents in a bid to conceal heinous crime incidents.

Last year, dacoits hit the Punjab province for 12,325 times and made off with cash, gold ornaments and other valuables worth billions of rupees. At least 692 incidents of armed robberies involving more than five gunmen were reported across the province in 2017 as compared to 951 such incidents reported in 2016.

Although the government pumped billions of rupees into the police pocket to build capacity of the officers with modern equipment and weapons there was no let-up in the incidents of robberies, dacoities, theft, cattle-theft and burglary.

The province witnessed alarming trend in the incidents of “crime against property” with a total of 79,176 cases reported across the province in 2017 while at least 80,319 such cases had been reported in 2016. In all Punjab districts, gangsters robbed residences, shops, factories, looted families, motorists and even passersby and made off with cars, cash, gold ornaments, and other valuables worth billions of rupees.

More than 12,325 armed robberies took place across the province in 2017 as compared to at least 13,675 such incidents reported by police in 2016. Out of total 12,325 robberies reported last year, the police declared at least 1897 cases as untraceable. Similarly, at least 1,721 incidents were still under investigation while the police cancelled at least 569 cases of armed robberies.

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