Police step up women protection measures

Suspects chasing females to face immediate arrest


Saqib Saleem Butt August 31, 2021
40 accused have been sent to jail on judicial remand after the identity parade. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE:

Police have prepared a policy to curb incidents of harassment of women amid a feeling of insecurity caused by increasing reports of such incidents on roads, in markets, offices and other public places in the city.

Under the policy, those who chase women on foot, a rickshaw, motorbike or car should be reported to the police immediately, so that they can be arrested.

A few cases of sexual abuse of women and children were reported in Lahore in the early days of the past month, on which police arrested some of the suspects and launched efforts to apprehend others, but after the harassment of a TikToker in Greater Iqbal Park on August 14, dozens of similar such incidents came to light and the complaints are increasing day by day.

In a recent incident, a 45-year-old heart patient and her young Hafizul Quran daughter, who came to Lahore to meet a relative from Melsi, fell victims to rapists in the Chung area. After the incident, Lahore police arrested a rickshaw driver and his suspected accomplice. Lahore police chief Ghulam Mehmood Dogar announced the arrests made in the gang rape case.

According to sources, the police had only one clue to tracing the suspect, the rickshaw left by him at the crime scene. If the driver had fled in the rickshaw, it would have been difficult for Lahore police to apprehend the suspect because CCTV cameras were not installed at Thokar Niaz Baig, the place where the woman and her daughter hired the vehicle, and LDA Avenue, where the gang rape took place. If the suspects had not been traced, the capital city police officer (CCPO) might have lost the important post.

Earlier, over the case of Ayesha Akram’s harassment in Greater Iqbal Park, the officials concerned from the SHO of Lorry Adda police station to the DIG operation were removed from their posts.

The police have not yet been able to arrest the youth who fled after harassing a girl travelling in a rickshaw on the night of August 14. In a viral video, the boy can be seen running away after molesting the girl. However, the face of the suspect is not visible. His sketch has been released by the police investigation wing, but he has not been identified yet.

Read Two more ‘harassers’ caught

 

In another shocking incident, a scrap dealer allegedly raped a mentally challenged girl in Harbanspura four days ago. Police immediately arrested the suspect and registered a case.

In two incidents reported on Sunday, a man suspected of molesting a seven-year-old child was arrested in Ghaziabad and Model Town police apprehended a suspect of committing an indecent act with a four-year-old girl. SP Investigation Zohaib Nasrullah Ranjha said the girl was going to buy something when the suspect molested her.

In view of the increasing incidents of sexual harassment and rape of women in Lahore, the police have decided to increase patrolling the arresting of the suspected harassers and assaulters, keep an eye on the suspects and use the Safe City cameras for identifying them.

CCPO Dogar has issued orders to the Patrolling and Safe City Authority Control Room to immediately report to the police any persons chasing women on foot, rickshaw, motorbike or any other vehicle so that their arrest can be carried out.

He said Lahore police would provide full protection to women. The police will also crackdown on those harassing or stalking women at parks, markets, bus stops, colleges, and universities. Instructions have been issued in this regard to the police stations and patrolling staff across the city in addition to the control room.

A psychologist, Dr Saba Shabbir Sheikh, told The Express Tribune that there had been an increase in cases of sexual harassment and abuse of women and minors in the city. She said many of the accused in such incidents suffered from an inferiority complex since childhood. The main reason is lack of attention, love, and inquiry from the family.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2021.

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