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Madrassa students kidnap, free 3 more cops

ISLAMABAD, May 22(Daily Times): Students of the Jamia Fareedia madrassa briefly kidnapped another three policemen on Monday, as the area remained tense at the prospect of a crackdown on Lal Masjid.

An operation at Lal Masjid appeared imminent on Sunday after the arrests of 37 madrassa students, but the spotlight shifted to Jamia Fareedia, located at the foot of the Margalla Hills in the posh E-7 Sector, on Monday.

A heavy contingent of police and Rangers backed by armoured personnel carriers moved within a kilometre of the madrassa as students holding batons stood guard outside. Some 2,500 Punjab Constabulary personnel were called in to take part in a possible operation to free the kidnapped policemen.

The students took SI Islam, ASI Zulqarnain and Constable Afrasyab from a police van patrolling the area, Islamabad's Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Muhammad Ali said. A madrassa spokesman denied that the cops were beaten up. Madrassa students had also tried to kidnap the SHO of Kohsar police station.

The policemen were released after negotiations between the Islamabad administration and the madrassa management. "Yes, the three policemen have been freed," SSP Zafar Iqbal said. Madrassa students also kidnapped four policemen on Friday. Two of them were freed on Saturday in exchange for the release of four of their men. The road immediately in front of Lal Masjid remained blocked for a second day.

The madrassa spokesman said the latest action was in response to the police's refusal to disclose the whereabouts of the students picked up the day before. Lal Masjid's deputy chief cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi said another 15 students were arrested on Monday.
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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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