LAHORE: Dozens of residents of Shuja Colony staged a protest demonstration in front Provincial Minister for Education Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman’s house, on Friday, against the land grabbers who had forcefully demolished houses in the colony.

The protesters claimed that Gujjarpura police tortured the protesters, including women and children, who were then put on to cots and taken to the main GT Road where the protesters blocked the road near Rehman’s house for nearly two hours. Consequently, the traffic too remained blocked for more than two hours.

The protesters burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the LDA, Punjab government and Gujjarpura police. Residents of the katchi abadi alleged that the LDA had launched operations on Friday morning without any prior notice and forced them to vacate the place.

During the vacating operation, 70-year-old Nazeeran Bibi refused to vacate her house and locked herself in, however, the LDA officials paid no heed to her protest and demolished the house, as a result of which Nazeeran as well as her grandson, Irfan, received serious injuries.

LDA officials had launched the operation to retrieve 8 kanals of land through bailiff. Katchi abadi comprised of 50 houses and around 1,000 people were living there. The police, however, in addition to demolishing the houses, also threw the residents’ valuables and possessions on the road.

A resident of the area, Azran Bibi, said that in 1964, a social worker of the area named Elahi Bashkh had allotted this place to them and they were living there since 1965. “We have nowhere else to go and our possessions are lying open under the sky and would be ruined in case of rain,” she said.

She further said that Ehsan Elahi, owner of the Allama Ehsan Hospital, wanted to grab this place because he wanted to expand his hospital’s area. For this purpose, he had involved a renowned land grabber, Mian Arshad of Samanabad. Mian Arshad, with the help of Gujjarpura Police, had launched this operation.

Another resident of the area, Rana Akbar, claimed that the court had not issued any notice to them for vacating the area. He warned that he would immolate himself in front of the Punjab Chief Minister’s House if this injustice was not stopped immediately.

The protesters demanded the chief justice of Lahore High Court and the CM to take notice of the issue and to allow them to live in the area. Meanwhile, heavy police contingents of Gujjarpura and Misri Shah police stations rushed to the spot. Police, after offering comforting words and assuring disposal of justice, was able to disperse the protesters.