Toddler rescued after shootout in Shikarpur – 30 May 2023
SUKKUR: The Sindh police succeeded in recovering a three-year-old hostage from the captivity of a gang on Sunday night hours before the expiry of a three-day deadline set by the Sindh High Court to end an eight-day ordeal of the affected family.
The court had taken notice of a video that had gone viral on the social media last week showing the boy, Samrat Kumar, in custody of a gang of dacoits. The video was believed to have been uploaded by the gang to mount pressure on the boy`s family and relatives to pay ransom.
The court ordered Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ghulam Nabi Memon to ensure safe recovery of the toddler within three days and submit his report. The deadline was to expire on Sunday night and the IGP was supposed to file his report on Monday morning.
Several hundred people, mainly members of the Hindu community living in Kandhkot, along with activists of various nationalist groups, some political parties and civil society organisations, had gathered at the residence of the affected family when the provincial police broke the news about safe recovery of the boy in the late hours of Sunday.
Otherwise overwhelmed by extreme stress and anxiety, the parents and close relatives of Samrat Kumar burst with joy when they had the first glimpse of their loved-one being brought before them by Shikarpur SSP Amjad Ali Sheikh, who was earlier tasked with his recovery by the IGP.
The boy`s all relatives were seen smilingly hugging and congratulating each other.
Samrat Kumar had gone missing nine days ago while playing in the street of Mirzapur, a densely populated locality of Kandhkot. His parents and relatives had told the police that armed criminals ridinga motorcycle had kidnapped and taken him away into the gangs-infested riverine area. Since then they had been passing sleepless nights. After five days, when the area police failed to even find a clue to the boy or his kidnappers, the Hindu Punchayat on Friday pitched a protest camp at Ghanta Ghar in Kandhkot. Elites of the district and many activists of political parties, nationalist groups and civil society organisations kept visiting the camp in groups until Sunday evening. The elites included the most influential figure of the district, Teghu Khan Teghani.
According to SSP Sheikh, under immense pressure mounted by police, the kidnappers shifted the young hostage to a hideout in the riverine area of Garhi Teghu, located in Khanpur taluka of Shikarpur district. The SSP said a team led by him followed the clue to reach the hideout and challenged the kidnappers.
`After an encounter, the gang abandoned the child and fled into the riverine area, said the police officer, adding that one member of the gang was found dead at the encounter site. The dead was later identified as Ali Ahmed Jafferi, who was the ringleader of the gang, the SSP said.
Speaking to a cheering crowd, he said police were committed to get freed all other people held hostage by gangs in the upper Sindh districts.
Ransom never paid: IGP It was taken as a coincidence that IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon happened to be in Ghouspur town of Kandhkot when the eight-day ordeal of Samrat`s family and relatives came to an end.
The provincial police chief was on a scheduled visit to the area to offer his condolences to the bereaved families of fellow policemen Ghulam Nabi Soomro and Ali Malik who had kissed martyrdom in the line of duty.
DIG Larkana Range Mazhar Nawaz Sheikh, Shikarpur SSP Amjad Ali Sheikh and Kashomre SSP Irfan Ali Sammo as well as other senior police officers accompanie d him.
Speaking to the media, IGP Memon categorically refuted all claims about payment of ransom by police. `Police neverpaid ransom for the release of any hostage,` he said, adding that he expected appreciation of police by the media and the public at large.
He said that the Sindh police needed full support from them for the success of the ongoing operation in the riverine areas of four districts [Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kandhkot-Kashmore and Ghotki] to restore complete peace in the province.
The IGP said that the police were making all-out efforts to eliminate gangs of outlaws and take kidnappers and killers of people and policemen to task.
He said the provincial government was extending all possible cooperation and assistance in this regard by providing funds, weapons, gadgets, vehicles and intelligence services as and when required.
`The Sindh government and my office have given complete freehand to the police force fighting against the outlaws in the operation areas,` said the IGP.
He said that as many as 67 dacoits had been killed and another 68 wounded and arrested in the ongoing operation. Over 300 outlaws had also been arrested during the last four months, he added.
Rally for release of Wapda employees While the IGP was visiting Kandhkot, a group of Wapda employees took out a rally for the release of their kidnapped fellow workers Jamil Ahmed Buriro and Asif Ali Punjabi. They said that armed dacoits had taken them away at gun point after barging into the Karampur grid station a few days ago.
Labour leaders Abdullah Nizamani, Nisar Sheikh and Agha Pathan, representing the protesters, demanded immediate action for the safe release of their co-workers. They warned that power supply to Karampur, Ghouspur and Kandhkot would be suspended if steps were not taken for the early recovery of the hostages.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami activists held a demonstration in front of Kandhkot SSP`s office for the safe recovery of a boy, Azeem Manik, who was kidnapped four days ago. The protesters raised slogans for the release of all those who had been held hostage by dacoits in the upper Sindh districts.