GUJRANWALA: Three police officials who allegedly forced a group of women to dance to ‘Munni badnam hui’ were arrested.
Thirty police officials belonging to other chowkis were also suspended on Friday afternoon.
According to eyewitnesses, three dancing girls from Lahore, Amina, Sanam and Kulsoom were brought to a wedding in the Sadoki area near Kamonki to perform at the wedding of a politician. “The police brought the girls to the wedding house in two vans with the musicians,” said a wedding guest, Salman.
“After our performance, we were heading home at around 2 am when a policeman forced us to accompany him to the police chowki,” Amina said. She added that the police official forced the musicians accompanying them into a second police car and sent them to the Saddar police station.
The male musicians were arrested and kept in a holding cell while the women were brought to the police chowki by Munawar Shaheed and chowki in charge, Abid Farook near Sanaat Pura. Farooq then allegedly forced the girls to dance to one song ‘Munni badnaam hoi’ over and over. “He kept rewinding the same song and made us dance from 2 am to 7 am in the morning,” Kulsoom said. She said that Farooq had also taken advantage of the women and abused them.
The three women said that a large group of police officials came to watch the impromptu mujra at the police chowki.
“We were paid Rs120,000 for our performance at the wedding but the police officials took the money,” said Sanam.
In the morning when Farooq finally let the women leave, he filed a case against the three dancers for soliciting sexual favours. “He let us go on bail and said that our earnings were his ‘payment’ for letting us go,” the women said. The women then approached the Gujranwala regional police officer (RPO), Tariq Masood’s, office and submitted an application against chowki in-charge Abid Farooq as well as Amar Abdullah and Athar who accompanied him throughout the night.
The RPO ordered an immediate inquiry into the incident and filed cases against Farooq, Amar Abdullah and Athar. All members of the chowki who witnessed the mujra were apprehended for questioning. The investigation revealed that two police cars had been reserved to extend protocol to the dancing girls.
Following the investigation, RPO Tariq Masood ordered the arrest of Malik Abid Farooq and two other officials and also suspended 30 officials of two police chowkis.
“This is a despicable incident. The fact that the police initially helped the crime to take place and then perpetuated it is shameful. Those responsible will face severe consequences,” Maqsood said.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2010.