Some 25 people, who protested on Thursday against the Civil Line police’s failure to arrest a suspect in a newborn’s kidnapping case, were beaten up by the police. Some of them were also detained for several hours.
The protesting family gathered in front of the office of the regional police officer and chanted slogans. They said following the registration of an FIR and nomination of the suspect, there had been no progress.
They said their newborn boy was kidnapped from the district headquarters hospital on September 6, 2011, but the police had neither started an inquiry nor made any arrests. They demanded that the regional police officer take action against the station house officer and an inquiry.
Zafar Iqbal, father of the missing child, said that he had returned empty-handed every time he visited the police station. He said he and his relatives had also visited the hospital several times to request re-checking of September 6, 2011, records to see if the child had been “mistakenly” handed over to another family. He said they were told that the hospital could not share the records until asked by the police.
The mother, Naseem Bibi, said a street protest was their last option. She said the family had also published an advertisement in a newspaper, but no one came forward.
Several people from Iqbal’s village, Chak 109-RB, Jaranwala Road, also joined the protest. Initially, the police told them only to stay away from the office. When some of them rushed in and vandalised the office, the police beat them.
Women commandos from the Elite Force were also called. They beat up the women and dragged them out of the building. Some of the protestors were pushed into a police van and taken to Civil Lines police station.
They were later release on the orders of the RPO. Within an hour of the release, they gathered in front of Faisalabad Press Club, where they staged a sit-in for an hour.
They alleged that some of the hospital nurses were involved in the kidnapping. The protesters dispersed after the station house officer assured them that the RPO would take notice of the incomplete investigation.
Shahid Malik, the RPO’s spokesman, told The Express Tribune that an inquiry would soon be held into the Friday’s incident.
The SHO told The Express Tribune that a number of suspects had been arrested since the registration of the FIR. They were all let go due to lack of evidence against them. He said City Police Officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana had invited the family to see him at his office on Saturday (today).
Talking to The Express Tribune RPO Tariq Masood Yasin said he was told that the protesting women were arrested after they slapped some police personnel. He said he was also told that the protesters had tried to vandalise the office.
He said he had no problems with people holding peaceful protests, but vandalising of public property was not acceptable.
He said none of the protestors was beaten or humiliated. Some people, he added, might have been pushed around.”
He said no case had been registered against the protesters.
He said an investigation was in progress against some paramedics identified as suspects.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2013.