Another young woman harassed on 14th August in Lahore

SHO, DSP suspended over negligence; two other officials transferred


Muhammad Shahzad August 20, 2021
REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE

LAHORE:

The same day a TikToker was assaulted by a mob at Greater Iqbal Park near Minar-e-Pakistan, another young woman had to go through a similar ordeal in Lahore, a video of which has now surfaced on social media.

The incident apparently happened on August 14, the same day TikToker Ayesha Akram was attacked by a mob of around 400 people gathered at the national monument to celebrate the country’s Independence Day.

The video, which emerged Friday on social media, shows that two girls along with a minor boy were sitting on the back seat of a Qingqi rickshaw that was stuck in a traffic jam as people were celebrating the Independence Day.

A man suddenly jumped on the rickshaw and forcibly kissed one of the girls, leaving her in shock and prompting the other to slap the harasser. It was disheartening to see people around the rickshaw, most of them on motorcycles, not only enjoyed the scene but kept on hurling derogatory remarks at the girls.

Despite hundreds of people surrounding the rickshaw, not even a single person tried to stop the aggressor or even say anything against the vile act.

Read more: 24 rounded up for assaulting, harassing TikToker: Mazari

One of the girls could also be seen grabbing her shoe to defend herself as another man approached the rickshaw, apparently trying to replicate the shameful act.

Talking to a private TV channel, Punjab Minister for Prisons Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, while taking notice of the incident, said that the culprit will be arrested at the earliest and will be given an exemplary punishment.

The incident happened on the same day, August 14, when a female TikToker along with her companions was harassed and assaulted by a mob in Lahore’s Greater Iqbal Park.

Police have taken at least 30 men into custody for harassing and assaulting a female TikToker at the Greater Iqbal Park in Lahore on the Independence Day, Punjab Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani said.

In a complaint lodged with the Lari Adda police station, the assault survivor said she was filming a video near Minar-e-Pakistan on August 14 along with her friends when a mob of around 400 people attacked them.

Speaking to the media, the provincial police chief said 60 photographs of men were sent to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and police teams had arrested 30 of them after identification.

"The culprits are also being identified with the help of viral videos on social media,” he added. “Others are being arrested with the information retrieved from those already in custody.”

The IGP said police teams were also using geo-fencing and others available resources to arrest the culprits.

“Those involved in gender crimes do not deserve any concession and that is why the provisions of the FIR are punishable by life imprisonment or death penalty.”

The provincial police chief appealed to the media, social media users and the public to refrain from spreading rumours as it would affect the investigation of the case.

He also asked them to provide any evidence or available material to the police to help identify the culprits.

“The names of the citizens who assist us with evidence and information shall remain secret.”

The IPG further said the Punjab Police DPR would provide information to the media on a daily basis ON the progress made in the case.

Earlier, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said 24 men believed to be involved in the case had been rounded up.

The federal minister wrote in a tweet that the arrests were made after the suspects were identified through geo-fencing and the record of NADRA.

She added that more arrests were expected later in the day in connection with the “condemnable” incident.

The minister wrote that an inquiry headed by an additional IG was also under way against the alleged negligence of police officers in the case.

Separately, the Punjab police chief suspended Larri Adda SHO Muhammad Jamil and Badami Bagh SDPO DSP Usman Haider after they were found guilty of negligence in an inquiry into the assault case.

Along with suspending the SHO and DSP, the IGP also transferred SSP Operations Nadeem Abbas and Additional SP City Hassan Jahangir and directed them to report to the Central Police Office immediately.

A three-member inquiry team formed on the orders of the chief minister will look into the incident, particularly the delay in the registration of the FIR. The inquiry team will also evaluate the quality of the police's helpline (15) response.

The female TikToker in the FIR said the mob had picked her up and started tossing her in the air. “I was stripped and my clothes were torn apart,” she added.

The survivor while narrating her ordeal had said she cried for help but no one came to her rescue.

She had also complained that her gold ornaments, cash and mobile phone were also snatched by the mob.

Two days ago, non-bailable clauses were added to the FIR against the culprits who had assaulted the woman, Punjab CM’s focal person Azhar Mashwani wrote in a tweet.

Read: Mob assault on TikToker triggers national outrage

“Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has ordered the arrest of the culprits as soon as possible,” he added.

Mashwani further said police were analysing video clips and CCTV footage of the area to identify those involved in the assault.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan, taking notice of the incident, spoke with the Punjab IGP about it.

Police are “catching all [the] culprits involved in manhandling of [the] female TikToker”, PTI representative Sayed Zulfi Bukhari confirmed on Twitter.

He added that it was a "gross violation of laws and social norms” and pledged that the government would not “spare a single person involved" in the assault.

Later, IGP Ghani spoke to the NADRA chairman on the phone and asked to start the process of identification of the culprits immediately.

"The culprits have been booked under Section 354-A of the PPC, which is punishable by life imprisonment or death penalty, the Punjab police chief added.

(With input from our correspondent in Islamabad)

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