By: Akhtar Amin
PESHAWAR: A Lady Health Worker (LHW) who was allegedly gang-raped by five persons, including policemen, has sent legal notice to the inquiry committee members, secretary Health Department and district health officer Nowshera for making allegations against her instead of conducting an impartial inquiry into the matter.
Declaring the inquiry of Health Department as fake and based on allegations, LHW Asmat Ara issued legal notice to two inquiry committee members including EPI Coordinator Dr Mujtaba Ali and EPI National Programme Coordinator Dr Jalil to pay Rs5 million as damages for defaming her in the so-called inquiry or face legal action.
She has also included secretary Health and Dr Arshad, DHO Nowshera, in the legal notice regarding damages.
Asmat Ara issued the legal notice through her lawyer Gul Rehman Mohmand.
As per the inquiry report of the Health Department, the committee members stated that the LHW was working in the polio programme and wanted personal gains by making claim that she was raped to migrate to United States of America.
It also said that she had problems with the community and was under investigation in a murder case of another woman. The inquiry committee also said they cannot give any recommendations as FIR has been registered in the case.
However, Asmat Ara claimed in the legal notice that her statement was not recorded and a concocted and fake report was submitted about the matter.
She noted that the inquiry committee made serious allegations against her instead of probing the matter further.
She said after the incident the Health Department removed her from polio campaign duty and caused financial loss to her.
Earlier, she said the inquiry conducted by the Police Crime Branch had saved the policemen from punishment. She said she would continue her legal fight against the culprits.
However, the inquiry by the Crime Branch took three months and it confirmed she had been raped.
The civil society in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is giving her legal assistance in the case.
Various international human rights organisations have asked the federal and provincial governments to provide justice and protection to Asmat Ara.
The LHW claimed she received threats before being raped to stop her from administering polio drops to children in her area.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in its letter to the prime minister, federal interior minister and chief justice of the Peshawar High Court, chief minister and provincial police officer expressed concern over the case of Asmat Ara, who hails from Nowshera.
It asked for providing protection to her and her family after she raised her voice for justice and protection against the rapists.
The KP Police Department claimed to have apprehended the main accused, though his accomplices were still at large.
Asmat Ara was allegedly raped in August 2015 and the police didn’t register the case even after the passage of four months.
She claimed the police registered a wrong case of robbery on September 18 instead of rape and termed it unjust. Later one section about the rape was included after her appeals on various forums.
She maintained that the police official asked her not to mention the involvement of the police in the rape case.
She named SHO Akhtar Nasir and a constable of Akbarpura Police Station in the case.
The woman said a five-member gang, including two men in police uniform, barged into her house at midnight on August 28 and raped her.
Prior to the incident, she claimed to have received threats from one Ajab Khan Afridi, who warned her to stop vaccinating children against polio.