LAHORE – Policemen shot dead an innocent shopkeeper and wounded a passerby during ‘search operation’ carried out here in Shahdara area to nab the fleeing robbers, eyewitness and police sources said on Tuesday.

Dozens of local residents gathered at GT Road and staged a strong protest demonstration against the innocent killing. The angry protesters blocked the road by setting tyres on fire, disrupting the traffic flow at the main road for several hours. The police wielded to batons and badly tortured the protesters when they refused to clear the road for traffic.

Police sources said that a team of policemen opened indiscriminate fire near an old building in Furrukh Abad area in the precincts of Shahdara police to challenge the bandits, suspecting the robbers were hiding in the building. “There was no gunfire from the other side but the cops continued indiscriminate fire for a considerable time,’ a local resident said, requesting his name not to be mentioned.

As a result, a local shopkeeper and a passerby sustained multiple bullet wounds. The shopkeeper, later identified as Muhammad Arshad, died on the spot while the passerby, namely Nasir Khan, was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. Police said that the cops were chasing the bandits when the ‘encounter’ took place, which resulted in the killing of a shopkeeper and wounded a passerby. According to the police, the cops of Mujahid squad deployed at Ravi Bridge stopped a passenger and arrested a man soon after they recovered three pistols from his possession. Another three accomplices of the accused, who were also travelling in the van, came out and tried to flee from the spot. The policemen started chasing them and later more police force was called in from Shahdara police station. Police said that the men ran towards Furrukh Abad area and presumably took shelter in an old building there. The policemen suspects the men inside the house opened indiscriminate, which resulted in crossfire.

Soon after the innocent killing, family members of the deceased and dozens of local residents gathered at the main road and staged a strong protest demonstration against the police. The angry protesters also chanted slogans against the police and demanded justice. Several protesters also sustained injures as the police wielded to batons to disperse the protesters. The policemen also snatched the dead body from the angry protesters after they tried to travel towards the Chief Minister’s House to stage protest against the killing.

In the meantime, heavy police contingents and senior officers reached the spot and managed to disperse the protesters after holding a series of negotiations with them. The police also sought the help of notables of the area to convince the protesters to clear the road. The protesters were assured that they would be provided justice.