LAHORE: Protests erupted on Tuesday at Chichawatni in Sahiwal district of Punjab on the killing of a minor child who was set on fire after being allegedly raped two days back.
The minor was found with severe burn injuries hours after she left home on Sunday to buy goodies from a nearby shop.
The child, who was mentally challenged according to her family, was first taken to DHQ Chichawatni for initial treatment. She was later referred to the Burns Unit of Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on Monday.
Dr Muhammad Younis of the Burns Unit at Jinnah Hospital told The Express Tribune that the child received burn injuries on her face, chest and private parts. According to the autopsy report, her hymen was torn but possibility of rape could be confirmed only after further examination.
According to an official, the police registered an FIR No. 148/18 under section 302 (murder) of Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified suspect(s).
“The police have taken into custody as many as 11 suspects including the owner of the shop the victim went to. A committee, headed by SP Investigation Naveed Irshad, has been constituted for further investigations,” he added.
On Tuesday, the minor’s funeral prayers were held at a cricket stadium in which a large number of people took part. A shutter-down strike was also observed in the city as protestors blocked a major road for every kind of traffic.
They chanted slogans against the unfortunate the incident and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. They also criticised the government over its ‘failure to take effective measures to stop such recurrent incidents’.
Meanwhile, Sahiwal’s District Police Officer (DPO) Rana Muhammad Atif Akram and Deputy Commissioner Shaukat Ali held a press conference in which they claimed that the initial post-mortem report did not confirm that the victim was sexually assaulted.
They said the report also failed to determine the cause of fire. Anything definitive about the case could only be said after receipt of the forensic report from the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA), the DPO said.
A medico-legal officer told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity that they had taken four samples from the victim’s body to be sent to the PFSA for detection of semen, groping and the DNA test.
He said the autopsy was conducted two days after the incident when the victim had already gone through treatment. “It was an inconclusive autopsy report so it is not possible to comment whether she was raped or not. It is wise to wait for the PFSA report for the final opinion,” he added.