HAFIZABAD - Jewellers of Hafizabad observed a shutter-down strike on Tuesday in protest over the death of a goldsmith in police custody. Sarfraz Rana was a heart patient.

The protesters blocked all roads leading to Fawara Chowk by placing the dead body in the middle of the intersection and burning tyres there.

Sarfraz and one Irshad Ansari had a dispute over the theft of some quantity of silver. The matter was pending with the jewellers’ association for resolution.

But on Tuesday, some policemen appeared on the scene and allegedly grabbed the jeweller due to which he received a stroke and fell down. The policemen did not stop and instead dragged him along the ground and bundled him in an official vehicle. Sarfraz died in the police custody, but the cops took his body to a private hospital on the Bypass Road, about three-kilometre from the city. The body was brought from there to Fawara Chowk by the jewellers.

The protesting jewellers raised slogans and blamed the police and their association President Rana Sadiq for the death of Sarfraz, who left behind his spouse, four minor daughters and a son to mourn his death. He was from Gujranwala.

As the day wore on, hundreds of citizens joined the protesting jewellers and demanded immediate arrest and strict action against those policemen responsible.

Meanwhile, Markazi Anjman Tajran President Shaikh Muhmammad Amjad expressed solidarity with the protesters and demanded early arrest of those accused.

A police contingent, headed by DSP Tariq Warraich, reached Fawara Chowk to negotiate with the protesters. The DSP assured them that after the post-mortem, legal action would be initiated against the accused policemen. Starting from 2:00pm, the protest against the police highhandedness was continuing till the filing of this report.

8 landlords booked for water theft: As many as 8 landlords were booked on charges of water theft in Mauza Bakna in the limits of the Kunjah Police here on Tuesday.

Reports said that the Irrigation Department officials received information that landlords of Mauza Bakna were stealing canal water. They along with contingent of police raided the spot and caught eight zamindars while stealing canal water red-handed.

The department got registered an FIR against landlords who were identified as Muhammad Riaz, Aslam, Mian Khan, Ilyas, Bashir Gujjar, Sarwar, Muhammad Hanif and Muhammad Rana.