HYDERABAD: An underage girl belonging to a gypsy community was allegedly subjected to gang rape in Tando Muhammad Khan district on Friday. The two suspects, Roshan Shaikh and Rajab Ali Shaikh alias Jugnu who have been arrested, forced the girl to drink moonshine liquor before subjecting her to rape, the victim claimed.
TM Khan SSP Mir Zulfiqar Talpur said at a press conference on Saturday that both the alleged rapists have been identified by the 13-year-old victim, J*, daughter of Mithu Sami. He also produced the two men, who have been accused in the FIR lodged on complaint of Sami under Sections 376 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), before the media.
The girl was brought to Liaquat University Hospital (LUH), Hyderabad on Saturday evening but the doctors turned the family away contending that she had not been raped. Later under pressure of circulation of the incident's news over social media and subsequent notice by the government functionaries, the LUH administration assisted the family to bring J* again to the hospital.
General secretary of Grand Democratic Alliance, Ayaz Latif Palijo, personally reached LUH and asked the officials to conduct an impartial medical examination without being influenced by the alleged rapists. "The victim was sent back to TM Khan without taking her medico-legal exam," he deplored. "Dozens of girls have been raped and killed in Sindh and their families keep begging for justice but don't get it."
At LUH, the doctors took DNA samples of J*. A medico legal officer (MLO), who requested anonymity, said, "rape was evident during the initial medical examination".
Meanwhile, the TM Khan police produced the two suspects before a local court on Saturday which granted their four-day physical remand to the police. According to the FIR, the girl left home on Friday morning and did not return even after hours.
Later, Sami and his son, Shabbir, began searching for her in the area. They finally found her on a ground near TM Khan Sugar Mills at around 4.30pm on Friday. "She was walking with unsteady steps and appeared to be under the influence of drugs," Sami said.
J* was earlier taken to civil hospital TM Khan before she was brought to LUH, Hyderabad. Meanwhile, her father lodged an initial complaint with the local police.
In her statement to the police, J* said that around 12 noon she saw Roshan and Rajab standing near the sugar mills. They both later forcefully took her to the wilderness where she was forced to drink moonshine liquor and then the two men raped her. Both of them later escaped leaving her partly unconscious.
Sami told the police that he had recently shifted to TM Khan where he got a menial labour job. The SHO of the city police station, Salahuddin Rustamani, said that the girl was a beggar.
Human Rights Defenders' advocate Ali Palh asked the police to collect and send the victim's vaginal swabs and clothes of both the victim and the accused for a laboratory test. "In such cases the victims need psycho-social support and counselling to bear the shock".
He said that the lab test for the alcohol or some other drug which was given to J* should also be conducted. Advocate Palh pointed out that Sections 376-D and 337-J pertaining to forcefully giving drugs or alcohol to a child have not been inserted in the FIR.
"Besides the social and psychological reasons for such rapes, the non-functional Child Protection Act 2011, is also a reason due to which the children are being subjected to such crimes," he observed.
Another lawyer of Hyderabad, advocate Riazat Ali Sehar, announced that he will offer free legal aid to J* and her family. He told the media that he would try to insert more sections of the PPC which have been omitted in the FIR.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2019.
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