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Monday April 22, 2024

Six ‘SRA’ men acquitted of grenade attacks on Rangers

By Yousuf Katpar
January 31, 2023

An anti-terrorism court has acquitted six men, allegedly affiliated with the outlawed Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA), for lack of evidence in cases pertaining to attacks on Rangers personnel in 2020 and possession of illicit weapons and explosive material.

Sarang alias Tufail Mirani, Anees Ahmed Shar, Bashir Ahmed, Khawand Bux alias Saleem Sindhi, Javed Mangrio, and Sajid Sanjrani were exonerated from the charges of killing a civilian and injuring two Rangers personnel among 10 people in two attacks in different areas of the city in June 2020 and possessing hand grenades and unlicensed pistols.

The ATC-XVI judge, who conducted the trial at the judicial complex inside the central jail, pronounced the judgment he had reserved after recording evidence and arguments from both prosecution and defence sides. The judge observed that the prosecution failed to back up the allegations levelled against the accused, and acquitted them. They were remanded back to jail with a direction to the authorities to release them forthwith if they were not required in any other case.

Defence lawyer Haider Farooq Jatoi contended before the court that the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed to have arrested four men – Sarang, Anis, Bashir and Khawand Bux – in a raid in Mirpurkhas in November 2020. The two other accused were arrested later, he added.

He said his clients were framed in the cases with the recovery of four grenades and three pistols that were alleged to have been seized from a house on the pointation of the accused foisted upon them. The counsel stated that the accused persons’ identities were disclosed to prosecution witnesses before they were produced before a judicial magistrate for an identification parade. He said there was no evidence to link the accused with the commission of the alleged offences and thus pleaded with the judge to acquit them.

One of the cases pertained to a grenade attack on a mobile of the Rangers in Gulistan-e-Johar Block 5. According to the prosecution, two unidentified persons attacked the Rangers vehicle by hurling a hand grenade shortly after it stopped at a tyre puncture shop to get air filled in its tyres on June 10, 2020. As a result, hawaldar Muhammad Hussain of the Bhittai Rangers 72 Wing was injured and the mobile was partially damaged.

Another attack on the paramilitary force occurred on June 19 the same year when two men threw a hand grenade from a bridge that landed near a van of the Rangers who were performing their duty during distribution of cash near an office of the Ehsaas programme in Liaquatabad. A civilian was killed while eight people, including a Rangers sepoy, were injured in the attack.

The state prosecutor claimed that the accused targeted the law enforcers with an intention to disturb the city’s peace and create terror. He said the accused were identified by eyewitnesses before a judicial magistrate and in addition to that, there was forensic and other evidence available on record that corroborated the prosecution’s case.

The cases were lodged by the CTD under sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), section 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substance Act, and 23(i)(a) of the Sindh Arms Act read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.