LAHORE - Most of the victims of Monday’s suicide blast were separately buried in different parts of Lahore on Tuesday amid growing anger as the grief-stricken relatives demanded the government publicly hang the masterminds of the attack.

Twenty-six people died and over 70 others wounded as a bomber struck a group of policemen in the old vegetable market in Kot Lakhpat area. Police had yet to ascertain identity of several of the dead.

Constable Ali Raza and his brother Constable Ghulam Murtaza were among the eight policemen who died in the attack.

The funeral prayers of both the brothers were offered at Punj Peer Darbar graveyar in Shadipura area on Bund Road. Hundreds of people, including colleagues of the victims , attended the funeral prayers.

Just three years ago, Raza, 24, and Murtaza, 22, had joined the city police department as constables. Following their training, both the young men were sent to the newly-raised anti-riot units of the Lahore police. They were standing at their duty point when the bomber blew up his explosive vest.

Moving scenes were witnessed as bodies of both the brothers were brought back home. Women and children were seen in tears close to the bodies. The relatives and family friends of the victims were visibly dejected over the sudden death.

A relative of the victims told this reporter that both the brothers were “heroes of their family”.

“They (Raza and Murtaza) played together in their childhood. They joined the police department on the same date and they died and were buried on the same day, next to each other,” said Ghulam Ali amid sobs and tears. He said the tragedy shook the whole family all of a sudden.

The friends and classmates of the deceased brothers were also weeping bitterly as the bodies were shifted to the graveyard. “They were very happy after joining the police service. The whole family was happy. But, everything changed in a few minutes. We will never forget their love and kindness,” said 25-year-old Afzal Ali, a friend of Constable Murtaza.

“We demand from the government that those who are involved in this incident and those who are the facilitators should be hanged in public,” Hafiz Naseerul Din, uncle of a policeman killed in the blast , told AFP.

“We came here in great grief,” added Shaikh Rizwan, a local resident who attended the funeral prayers for some of the victims .

“Twenty-six people were martyred here yesterday, I request my government that please uproot these terrorists fully so our country can progress,” he said.

Police Sub Inspector Riaz Ahmed was buried at a local graveyard in Nishtar Colony. A large number of people, including notables of the area, attended his funeral. Some police officers were seen consoling and comforting the eldest son of the deceased.

Five other policemen, including Assistant Sub Inspector Fayyaz Ahmed, Constable Sajid, Moazzam, Abid Ali, and Omair Ghani were also buried in their native towns following the funeral prayers. Heavy police contingents were deployed at the funeral sites to avert any further untoward incident.

The city police threw a massive security blanket across the provincial metropolis on Tuesday morning. Police on gun-fitted vehicles continued patrolling around their headquarters and other key government installations.

Acting Inspector General of Police Muhammad Usman Khattak vowed that the criminals involved in the blast would be brought to justice. The police chief said subversive activities by the anti-state elements and terrorists cannot undermine the morale and passion of the brave jawans of the Punjab police.

The acting police chief stated this while visiting General Hospital where he inquired after injured policemen. He also presented flowers to the policemen and prayed for their early recovery.

On this occasion, the acting IGP said the victims , especially the police jawans of Kot Lakhpat Fruit Market catastrophe, were the pride of the Punjab Police and beacon of light for the police force. He said the elements involved in ghastly incidents of terrorism would be exposed and taken to task. He said the Punjab police had played a leading role in ending terrorism and the force would not hesitate to shed the last drop of their blood to nip the anti-state actors and criminals in the bud.