MUZAFFARGARH/ISLAMABAD - A teenaged Muzaffargarh victim of sexual assault, who immolated herself on Thursday in desperation, died of severe burns Friday morning, prompting apex court to take suo moto notice of the tragedy and forcing police and administrative bosses out of slumber.
The 18-year-old student had put herself on fire in protest against non-arrest of three savages, who assaulted her in January this year but were let off hook. She was later taken to Nishtar Hospital of Multan where she succumbed to her wounds.
The victim was reportedly raped in the presence of her younger brother on her way home from college in Jatoi in the Muzaffargarh district on January 5 and the incident was reported to the police. But a local court dropped the case on Thursday following a police report which said she had not been raped, despite proof of the crime in the medical report.
The deceased, her mother and relatives protested against the cancellation of FIR in front of the police station, where the desperate victim poured gasoline over her body and set herself on fire in the presence of policemen and her same younger brother who had witnessed her being brutalised. Local sources quoted the girl's mother as telling that her daughter was raped after she turned down a wedding proposal by the main culprit Nadir Hussain.
No alarm bells rang and no politician, police boss or judge of this land of the pure came to help her get justice for almost two months, not even after she injured herself fatally on Thursday. It was only after her death on Friday that the top judge of the supreme court felt compelled to take notice of this unfortunate story.
Chief Justice Tassaduq taking suo moto notice ordered Punjab Inspector General of Police and Muzaffargarh District Police Officer to personally appear on 17-3-2014. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif too felt ‘deep grief and sorrow’ over the death of the bruised girl whose wails went unheard as long as she breathed.
Media’s highlighting the ‘death protest’ of the ill-fated girl also caused unease among the provincial and district administrative bosses who directed local police to arrest the accused. The black-shirted buffoons then swung to action and arrested Nadir Hussain from Bait Mir Hazar village the same day (Friday).
Enraged people gathered outside Bait Mir Hazar police station and demanded for handing over the accused to them so they could punishment him themselves, saying they did not trust the corrupt judicial system. The tension forced the authorities to shift the accused to Jatoi police station.
After post mortem in Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) Jatoi, the badly bruised body of the poor girl was buried in Bait Rampur union council of Lundi Patafi. Dr Pervaiz Ahmed of Nishtar Hospital said that 80 percent of the girl's body was burnt.
Leading rights activist and herself a rape victim, Mukhtaran Mai, who extended legal assistance to the girl's family, slammed the police over her death and appealed to the Supreme Court to set a precedent by handing a harsh punishment to the rapist as well as the police. “What kind of justice it is that the rapist walked free while the girl was forced to take her own life in frustration?" the visibly-upset Mai asked.
After the death of the girl, Additional IG Khalid Dad reached the Bait Mir Hazar Khan police station himself to oversee the case progress. DPO Usman Akram Gondal said main accused Nadar was arrested and SHO suspended.
The Punjab CM said in a statement that an ‘exemplary punishment’ would be awarded to the culprits and responsible officials. In his order, the CJP directed Punjab IGP to file a written report about the case along with all relevant record.