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Girl’s relatives say held suspect not assault culprit

UMERKOT: A shutterdown in Ghulam Nabi Shah Town of Umerkot district continued for a third consecutive day on Wednesday as the Hindu community along with other people staged more protest demonstrations and rallies in several towns of the district, as well as Mirpurkhas district, for the arrest of the culprits of a criminal assault on a six-year-old girl last Sunday.

Police under immense pressure from protesters, the chief minister and several provincial ministers arrested a suspect and Umerkot SSP Umerkot Riaz Soomro told a press conference in Ghulam Nabi Shah town on Wednesday that the man had confessed to the crime.

However, relatives of the victim girl immediately rejected his claim and the suspect’s family also accused the police of subjecting him to torture in order to extract a confession.

The SSP claimed that the police reached the suspect with the help of footprint trackers and that the victim girl also identified him as one of the culprits during an identification parade. Phullo Meghwar, the victim girl’s uncle and a professor at Szabist, Karachi, told Dawn that police seemed to have picked up the wrong man.

“There were no samples collected by medico-legal officers at the Umerkot hospital or the Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas to help establish facts,” he said. Nor were there any MLO reports attached with the case, he added.

He said that police had picked up another suspect but let him off after intervention of some influential figures and now they had arrested another seemingly wrong man by adopting a wrong method to reach the culprit.

Another relative of the girl said that police did not oblige them when advised to seek help of anther girl who accompanied the victim at the time of her abduction.