A test of will: Boy takes matric exam in handcuffs

Ninth grader accused of theft sat between police officials in the examination hall.

Shahdat Hussain April 04, 2011
A test of will: Boy takes matric exam in handcuffs


A 13-year-old boy sat his ninth grade exam wearing handcuffs on Saturday.

According to police officials, the boy was charged with theft by landlord Altaf Bhatti and was in police custody. “He kept saying that he couldn’t miss his final exams and begged us to take him to the examination hall,” said Karampur SHO Muhammad Akram.

According to Karampur resident Mustaqeem, his son was being punished for his dispute. “Bhatti and I are currently fighting a case in the courts involving property and he has taken it out on my son,” he said. Mustaqeem’s son Tayyeb is a ninth grade student at the Government Boys School, Vehari.

On Wednesday, Bhatti charged the boy with theft. “He stole wooden cabinets and doors that were being stored on our land,” Bhatti said. He added that the boy had also taken a portable stove. “We registered a theft case because the boy is a hooligan and this is not the first time he has stolen our property,” Bhatti said.

“I have no idea why they are accusing me,” Tayyeb said, adding “I can barely even lift the stove, let alone the scores of doors and windows they have accused me of stealing.” Tayyeb said that he was being forced to pay for his father’s rivalry with the landlord.

“I have been studying hard for my exams. When the police took me in custody I begged them to let me take the exam,” he said. Police investigation officer Manzoor said “He agreed to be taken to the exam hall in handcuffs.”

Tayyeb said that he didn’t care about the handcuffs. “They hurt a lot while I was trying to write but I am glad I was able to sit for the exam,” he said. Tayyeb said that he was embarrassed for his friends to have seen him sitting the exam in the custody of police officials. “It was humiliating, especially because I haven’t done anything. Still, I wasn’t willing to miss the exam because that would mean my failing the year,” he said.Tayyeb’s parents said that he was a very hard working student and that they were proud of him. “I hate that he has been made to suffer out of such pettiness but I am proud of him,” said Mustaqeem. “My son studies very hard and is one of the top students of his class. He takes his studies very seriously and we had to go plead with the police in this case,” Tayyeb’s mother Ameena Bibi said.On Saturday police officials took13-year-old Tayyeb to an exam centre in Vehari. The boy took his matric exam wearing handcuffs. Other students in the hall later described it as an extremely odd sight. “He took the exam sitting between two police officers who didn’t even untie his hands,” Tayyeb’s class fellow Rahat said.

Karampur SHO Muhammad Akram and investigation officer Manzoor said that they were looking into the case. “We are investigating the case. If he is innocent we will let him go,” Manzoor said.

A large group of protesters gathered outside the high school exam centre following the test. The students and teachers protested against the police and demanded Tayyeb’s release.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th,  2011.


tric | 13 years ago | Reply Why on earth did they cuff the hand he used for writing???
IZ | 13 years ago | Reply Contrast the treatment of this boy with the treatment of terrorist mastermind and suicide bomber trainer Rashid Rauf who escaped from police in Lahore in 2007 when the policemen who were escorting him allowed him to go to a mosque while they were eating burgers... http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jan/28/pakistan.world1 Who is a greater security threat?
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