SARGODHA, Dec 15: Protest against the alleged humiliation of a woman councillor by the Kalayar tribe in Shahnikadar, Sillanwali tehsil, continued for the third day on Monday , with a majority of the public demanding action against the culprits.
The protesters raised slogans against MPA Khalid Kalayar and Sillanwali Tehsil Nazim Rana Munawar Ghaus for ‘siding’ with the accused. Councillor Faiz Batool, an elderly woman, was reportedly beaten and forced to parade naked by the Kalyars over a petty issue on Friday last.
The woman who “now finds her life at risk” for pursuing the case, refused to meet this reporter on Monday. Local police were also reluctant to disclose progress, if any. Till Sunday, they had arrested 12 of the 36 assailants. District Nazim Malik Amjad Ali Noon told Dawn that a scuffle had taken place but the report of marching the woman naked by the accused was incorrect.
MPA Khalid Kalayar said though the accused were the Kalayars they were not related to him. He also denied allegations of shielding the accused. About the incident, he said councillor’s husband had a scuffle with some members of the Kalyars who then reached her house. The councillor took them to the Dera of Rai Mumtaz to settle the issue where a scuffle took place. The MPA said the woman was wearing ‘Dhoti’ which untied during her scuffle with Kalyar youths. “It was unintentional as the assailants did not mean that.”
However, an eye-witness who was present at the Dera of Rai Mumtaz said the woman wore ‘shalwar’ which was torn apart by the accused. Some of processionists told Dawn on Monday that when the old woman was forced to roam in the bazaar by the accused, she only wore a torn shirt.
Recalling the ‘excesses’ of the Kalyars, they said the accused had already humiliated a woman, Kaneez Fatima, who reportedly rebuked a young man of Kalayar family who passed remarks against her some three months ago. Accused Faisal Kalyar and his accomplices shaved Fatima’s head and made her walk in the bazaar.
They said the police did not entertain Fatima’s plaint and rather made her to ‘resign to her fate’. According to them, the Kalyars were used reaching compromise with their poor victims by offering them money. They said that Faiz Batool was also being forced to withdraw her complaint.
A policeman claiming anonymity said that Shahnikadar feudals were notorious for humiliating the poor. “And if a complainant goes to police, they offer him money.”
He claimed that Faiz Batool was also ready for a deal against a sum of Rs100,000. A local trader, however, said a sense of insecurity usually forced the aggrieved parties to accept rapprochement. “Lengthy and costly trials also keep the poor away from litigation.”