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Death toll in Lahore blast rises to 72

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LAHORE – The death toll in the horrendous Taliban suicide bombing at a popular public park where Christians were celebrating Easter in this eastern Pakistani city, Lahore, rose to 72 today.

A large number of people including Christians were present in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Iqbal Town area here when the blast occurred yesterday, leaving many in a pool of blood.

The park is located in a posh-locality in Lahore, the hometown of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The city is comparatively peaceful in an otherwise violence-wracked Pakistan.

“The toll has risen to 72. The rescue operation is continuing,” a rescue official of the Punjab Province government told Express News.

Those killed included women and children. Over 300 people were also injured in the attack and many of them were in a critical condition.

The brutal attack by a suicide bomber — believed to be in his 20s — was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Several leaders, including Prime Minister Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, have condemned the blast. Christians leaders also strongly condemned the attack.

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Nirmala Panta rape, murder case : Locals protest after wrong suspect paraded

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BHIMDUTTANAGAR — Locals who were protesting against the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality, have enforced shutdown in Bhimduttanagar Bazaar on Tuesday, protesting police’s failure to reveal facts behind the murder of 13-year-old girl and parading wrong suspect on Monday.

The District Police Office, organising a press conference on Monday,had made public Dilip Singh Bista (41), of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality-19 as Nirmala’s murderer.

Locals have shut down the market area stating that police were not being able to make public the true murderer(s) as they are not convinced by the findings of police citing that Bista was mentally unsound, according to the District Police Office.

Transportation has also been halted.

Bista, a resident of Khanna Chauraha area in Bhimdutta Municipality-19, was apprehended near the scene of crime on Sunday, according to police.

Police making public the wrong suspect has infuriated the locals and fueled the protest.

The agitators including various civil society organisations and human rights defenders have been picketing the District Administration Office and staging rally on the street mounting pressure on the police to reveal the facts behind the heinous crime.

Meanwhile, it had been learnt that police have fired rounds of teargas shells to contain the agitated mob.

Nirmala was found murdered in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

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