RIGHTS Watch | October 1st 2020

--17 y/o Hindu girl in Tharparkar pushed to suicide by her rapists who blackmailed her with videos of her Gang Rape --Punjab Women Protection Authority & Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) sign MoU for greater access to justice for women --Gang rape suspect killed in an encounter with police in Okara


Blackmailers push rape victim to suicide

A 17 y/o Hindu girl of Dalan jo Tarr village in Tharparkar committed suicide on Wednesday, September 30 by jumping down a well. The girl was being blackmailed and harassed by three men who had gang-raped her and filmed the assault in mid-July of last year. The medico-legal report for the assault had confirmed that the girl had been raped, but due to the ongoing pandemic and the closure of courts, any legal proceedings in her case were postponed and the accused were able to acquire bail. The court has set October 15 for the next hearing in her case.

No new case has been registered as of yet – Chelhar police state that the family must record a complaint regarding the harassment and blackmailing faced by the now-deceased girl in order to lodge a new case. Meanwhile, one of three suspects has been taken into custody.

Women protection bodies sign MoU

The Punjab Women Protection Authority (PWPA) and the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) on Wednesday, September 30, signed a memorandum of understanding to support the implementation of the Addressing Root Causes (ARC) project geared toward ensuring access to justice for female victims of abuse. The project will be initiated with technical and financial input from Oxfam.

The project initiatives include forming and training ba-ikhtiar groups on legal rights and the justice system, developing awareness programs for police, courts, and community members regarding the protection of women, children, and minorities, and regarding forced and child marriages.

Police kill gang-raped accused in encounter

Sadar Depalpur police gunned down on September 30 one of eight accused of gang-raping a woman on Tuesday, September 29 in Okara. In the initial incident, eight assailants had broken into a home where they gang-raped a woman and looted the residents of their valuables. Police managed to trace the criminals to Fakhar Town during a robbery bid, after which both sides began to exchange fire. Seven suspects managed to flee, leaving behind their deceased accomplice, Akram Sheikh, who hailed from Pattoki. The deceased as identified as one of the rapists by a relative of the rape survivor for the initial incident.