A Christian family in Kasur is accusing a landlord and 12 of his family members of beating up three of their women and ransacking their house over one of them being slapped.
The police are not registering an FIR against the men even though medico-legal reports have established injuries suffered by the women, says the family. The police told The Express Tribune that the landlord’s family were “innocent”. The Christian family, they said, was being “used” by the landlord’s rivals.
Bibi Rani, the mother-in-law of the injured women (aged 19, 26 and 35), told The Express Tribune that they were woken from sleep in the middle of the night on June 3 when Muhammad Ibrahim, Muhammad Rafique, their seven sons and four other men entered their house after scaling the boundary wall.
She said they were looking for her sons. Finding none of them home, she said, they had started abusing her daughters-in-law and beating them up. Their shirts were torn in the process, she said. The men had then dragged them out and beaten them up before they left.
It all started with a herd of goats, owned by the Christian family, entering Ibrahim’s nursery and damaging about a hundred saplings, says Shaukat Masih, the husband of one of the women. He said he had had an argument with Muhammad Munir, Ibrahim’s son, when he locked his goats in a cattle shed and refused to return them.
“We (the three brothers and his sister-in-law) went to them again to request them to release our goats,” Shaukat Masih told The Express Tribune. He said he had told Munir off when he “misbehaved” with his sister-in-law and pushed her. “Munir slapped me and then I slapped him. He was furious, saying how dare a Christian slap him,” Masih said. Elders of the area intervened then and persuaded Munir to return the goats.
Munir, however, filed an application at Pattoki Saddar police station against them. Learning about the complaint against them, said Masih, the men of the house decided to ‘disappear’ to avoid arrest.
The medico-legal certificates “establish torture”, said Masih, “My mother has filed an application but the police are reluctant to register an FIR.”
Pattoki Saddar SHO Haji Abdul Aziz said, “The Christians are accusing innocent people.” He said that the ‘goat incident’ did take place but added that “there was no truth to the allegation that Ibrahim and others had entered their house and humiliated the women”.
Aziz said the doctor who examined the women had recommended action under Section 337-F(1) (Punishment of ghayr-jaifah) of the Pakistan Penal Code “which is not a cognisable offence”. “That is why FIR can be registered”. The PPC section deals with punishment for injuries in which the skin is ruptured and bleeding has occurred (damiyah). According to the section, a court can decide a compensation that is to paid by the offender to the victim for causing such hurt. The offender can also be punished with imprisonment up to a year.
Advocate Tipu Salman Makhdoom, a lawyer The Express Tribune talked to, said that the police “must still register an FIR” for trespass and humiliation of the women.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.