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Rape victim on hunger strike to get justice

KARACHI, Feb 13: Kainat Soomro, a thirteen-year-old girl and victim of gang-rape in Mehar Town of District Dadu, along with her parents and other family members has started hunger strike outside the Karachi Press Club with a resolve to continue the protest until they get justice.

“A shopkeeper Shahban Shaikh abducted me and raped me on January 10 while I was returning home from school,” she told media. Ms Soomro said she stopped at Shahban’s shop to purchase something while returning from school. While she was buying the items, someone from behind grabbed her and put a handkerchief against her nose and mouth. “I immediately fell unconscious,” the schoolgirl sobbed.

“I protested in my town Mehar but could not get justice, my family tried to get justice in Larkana but failed but now we have decided to continue our protest until we are ensured justice,” she said.

Shahban and three others whom she identified Ehsan Nomi, Kaleemullah Thebo and Roshan Thebo, allegedly raped her at a small room in a Kotri hospital where she was kept for three days.

“When I regained my senses, I found myself unclothed in a small room, that’s when I understood what had happened,” she said.

Ms Soomro said she was kept in an isolated room for three days where the rapists assaulted her one after the other and tortured her as well. She accused them of forcing her to sign some papers while she was unwell.

Kainat’s father, Ghulam Nabi Soomro accused an influential feudal lord of district Dadu for protecting the rapists, which was why no action was being taken by the administration and the police against them.

He said the accused had forcibly got some papers signed by the teenager which they used to prepare a fake marriage certificate in which they had shown her five years older than her actual age. He also showed Kainat’s birth certificates to the media.

He said instead of the culprits it was victims whose life had become a hell in the area by the influential feudal lords, which also affected the schooling of other girls of the family.

“Not just my girls, but this incident has forced all the parents to stop their girls from going to school,” said Soomro.

Kainat Soomro said she managed to escape three days later from Kotri to Mehar in a bus with the assistance of her father’s friend. The matter was immediately reported to the police who refused to lodge an FIR at the outset but later registered it after popular pressure.

She said she had still faith in Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim for giving her justice. Her father demanded of the governor, the chief minister, the IGP and other officials to depute an honest and impartial officer to probe into the matter.

Several representatives of political parties and civil society visited her and assured the family of their support in their struggle for rights. The visitors included PPP MPA Sassui Palejo, ARD Sindh president Zain Ansari, PML-N’s Sorath Thebo and Abdul Ghani Suharyani, Sindhiani Tehrik’s Mariam Gopang, Awami Tehrik’s Noor Nabi Rahujo, Aurat Foundation’s Anis Haroon and regional director of the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc), Akhtar Hussain Baloch.

In their remarks, the visitors unanimously alleged the government that it was guilty of providing least protection to the womenfolk, which was evident from the increasing numbers of sexual assaults on women in the country.

“This government has totally failed in providing protection to women despite its tall claims and promulgation of the Protection of Women Act,” said a visitor.

Source: Dawn