Jacobabad city in Pakistan’s Sindh on Friday shut down after Hindu leader Lalchand Seetlani – president of the Hindu Panchayat Committee (HPC) – and his son Shiva, accused of keeping and selling smuggled goods, were arrested.
Members of the Hindu community along with local businessmen took out a rally and held a sit-in led by HPC office-bearers and leaders of the local business community, including Jacobabad Chamber of Commerce president Mir Ali Ahmed Brohi, reported Dawn.
The protesters marched through various streets raising slogans against the Jacobabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).
Traders and shopkeepers downed shutters and joined in the rally. They held a sit-in at the main market of the city, reported Dawn.
A police team led by the Station house Officer (SHO) of the city police station tried to persuade the protesters to disperse peacefully but they demanded the immediate release of the HPC president and his son, withdrawal of the “false” case against them and removal of the SSP. After a heated argument between the SHO and Mr Brohi, the police left the market.
After holding the sit-in for several hours, the protesters resumed their rally up to the local press club and apprised the media personnel of what they called ‘excesses by the police’, reported Dawn.
Mr Brohi, Lalchand Seetlani’s brother Jumno Mal, Roshan Lal and others also spoke at a press conference in the club.
The police had been harassing businessmen, traders and shopkeepers on different pretexts for the last two months, they alleged. Amid heightened tension between the two sides, the SHO along with his subordinates raided the Seetlanis’ outlet, seized the merchandise and took Mr Seetlani and his son to an undisclosed place, they said. They also accused the SHO and his team of having kidnapped them at the behest of the SSP, reported Dawn.
They claimed that the SSP was victimising local traders, especially those belonging to the Hindu community, for criticising the bad performance of the Jacobabad police and resorting to excesses against innocent citizens.
The protestors warned that they will intensify their protest if appropriate action is not taken against the officers, reported Dawn.