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LAHORE: At least 12 under-trial prisoners escaped from police custody after a clash broke out between two groups while they were being presented before a local court in Lahore on Monday.

The incident took place when about 166 prisoners from two jails arrested in various cases were brought to the district courts in Model Town for hearings, said a senior police officer. He added that police, however, managed to re-arrest two of the escaped prisoners while efforts were being made to catch the others.

The officer said the suspects were being kept in the “bakhshi khana” (the lock-up for under-trial prisoners) of the court when a fight started between two groups. He said when the police officers brought the prisoners out of the lock-up to control the situation, they became disorderly and also clashed with the policemen, threw stones at them and attacked them with chairs, tables and other objects.

According to TV footages, the prisoners were seen throwing bricks and furniture from inside the lock-up and some of them climbing over the chairs to flee as police personnel watched helplessly. At least one policeman was struck in the face with a stone.

The police officer said two prisoners have been arrested while a search was under way to arrest the remaining 10. He further said that an “internal inquiry” has also been launched by the higher ups to identify and punish the negligent officers. The police department is also considering initiating legal proceedings against the prisoners who planned the escape, he added.

The officer dispelled reports that those who escaped from police custody were facing serious charges such as murder or adduction. He said most of the prisoners were facing trial of robbery, snatching and illegal arms crimes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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