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16 women freed on bail

PESHAWAR, Aug 08 2005: A local court on August 7 released on bail 16 women who had been arrested on the charge of vagrancy on the directives of the Women Crisis Centre. The court presided over by Judicial Magistrate Shah Hussain observed that the officials of the centre and police had not followed the required procedure for arresting the women.

The court ordered that the women be released after furnishing personal surety bonds of Rs50,000 each.

The project director of the centre, Ms Hina, claimed that the centre had launched a project for the rehabilitation of women beggars and imparted skill development training to them so that they could earn their livelihood through honourable means.

Ms Hina said she had requested the Gulbahar police to provide them a police party for picking up women beggars and taking them to the crisis centre under the Vagrancy Ordinance 1958.

Following their arrest, the women were produced before the court to seek directive for keeping them in the crisis centre.

However, the arrested women claimed that they were not vagrants but belonged to poor families. On the night of their arrest, they added, they were waiting outside a bread shop (tandoor) for philanthropists to turn up and distribute bread among them.

In different parts of the city, philanthropists give money to bread shop owners and ask them to distribute bread among the needy people.

The women stated that the police came to the site and arrested them without informing their families. They stated that they had children and other family members waiting for them and requested that they should be allowed to rejoin their children.

The magistrate asked the concerned officer why they had not informed the families of the women.

Source: Dawn