FAISALABAD: A man set himself on fire to protest against the police for allegedly releasing a man who allegedly raped his wife.
Eyewitnesses told The Express Tribune that 28-year-old Safdar Hussain set himself alight to protest against police officials of Athara Hazari for allegedly setting free accused involved in robbery and gang rape of his wife in Jhang.
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After the incident, the victim was shifted to Allied Hospital, Faisalabad in critical condition. The doctors at the hospital said the chances of victim’s survival were bleak as he received 70% burn injuries on his body.
While speaking to The Express Tribune, a police official, requesting anonymity, said, “Safdar Hussain went to the Athara Hazari police station to meet SHO Ghulam Abbas Sehgal.” He added, “The victim complained to the SHO that accused involved in sexually assaulting his wife have been set free by the investigation officer after taking bribe from them.”
He said Safdar appealed to the SHO to take action against the investigation officer and arrest the suspects. “However, Ghulam Abbas abused him and asked the constables to throw him out of the police station,” he revealed.
“In sheer frustration, Safdar Hussain sprinkled petrol on his body and set himself on fire outside the office of the SHO,” he said.
While taking notice of the incident, the Punjab IGP suspended DSP Tahir Hussain Khikhi, SHO Ghulam Abbas Sehgal, Investigation Officer Nawaz Naul and ordered inquiry against them on charges of negligence. Muhammad Hussain, a close relative of the victim, told The Express Tribune that in July, three accused barged into the house of Safdar and looted valuables at gunpoint. The accused also sexually assaulted his wife and escaped.
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He added later, the accused were identified by Safdar and a formal complaint was moved to the area police. “After a delay of four days, a case was registered under sections 376 and 379 of the Pakistan Panel Code. One of the three accused was arrested by the police but set free by the investigation officer after taking bribe,” he alleged.
He pointed out, “Other accused namely Khizar and Zafar were also identified but the police was reluctant to arrest them which led Safdar to take such an extreme step.”
Meanwhile, suspended investigation officer Nawaz Naul denied allegations of taking bribe for releasing the suspect. Rajab Ali, who took charge as Athara Hazari Police Station SHO told The Express Tribune that the gang rape victim's medical examination confirmed that she was sexually assaulted and claimed all the accused mentioned in the FIR had been arrested.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2017.
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