A woman who claims to have been raped by a spiritual healer climbed up an electric pole on Thursday protesting Manga Mandi police’s failure to arrest the peer.
She was identified as 22-year-old Neha from Mauzabad. She was persuaded by some policemen to come down after half an hour of negotiation.
Ghalib Market SHO Amir Sheikh – who was called to the scene because the Gulberg SHO had been summoned to court – told The Express Tribune that initially two women carrying placards tried to block the traffic. One of them later climbed up an electricity pole in Liberty Market. The police were able to persuade her to descend after about half an hour. Sheikh said that Neha’s supporter continued to protest for longer. “We can’t really do anything…because the incident took place in Manga Mandi precinct,” the official said.
Sub-Inspector Nasir Hussain Shah of Manga Mandi police station, who is the investigating officer of the case, said that Neha had registered an FIR against Ashraf, a local peer, on March 28. “She claimed that after an argument with her husband, Istakhar, three months ago, her friend Shamim took her to see Ashraf. She lived with Ashraf for about two months. Neha told us that she was raped by Ashraf on January 15,” Shah said. He said the police had not arrested the peer because they had no evidence supporting the woman’s claim. The medical exam had not established rape though samples have been sent for a DNA test.
Ashraf lives in a room with his family, he said, “[The complainant] claims to have been raped in that room. How can she be raped there?” The sub-inspector said that Ashraf had denied the allegations.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2012.
Correction: An earlier version of this post carried a headline that, after reader feedback and editorial consideration, was considered misleading and insensitive. The headline has been changed and the error is deeply regretted.