June 3, 2022
By Ayoob Rajper
The whereabouts of a four-year-old girl, earlier reported to have died in an arson incident in Panhwar on May 29, remain unknown as her family claims her body was never found.
They believe the toddler had been abducted by the arsonists during the chaos that erupted in their village, located in Panhwar Union Council, adjacent to Rohri City in Sukkur, last Sunday. Reportedly, a dispute had broken out between the Chauhan clan and the Panhwar clan when two girls, under the age of 18, of the former community eloped with two boys of the latter group.
While the Chauhans registered an abduction case with the police, they subsequently took matters in their own hands when they torched eight houses belonging to the Panhwars for “honour”.
The incident was widely covered in the media, with some outlets reporting that the body of a four-year-old girl, who was burnt alive in the fire, had been recovered. However, while talking to Voicepk.net, the “deceased” girl’s mother claims that the body was never found. She suspects that her daughter may have been kidnapped by the people who attacked their homes that day.
“We were inside when suddenly a group of armed men burst in. They were setting fire to everything and firing in the air. We all ran outside while my girl was still asleep in her cradle. We do not know if she died in the fire or if the Chauhans took her with them,” the girl’s mother recalled the night of the incident, adding that her family had nothing to do with the dispute in the first place. “What do we know where that boy and the Chauhan girl ran off to? All we saw was people storming in torching homes.”
A case regarding the incident has been registered with the Dubar Police in Rohri tehsil. However, the Station House Officer (SHO) of Dubar police station, Allah Wadhayo Patafi refused to divulge much details, stating that he had been recently transferred to the post.
“Whatever decisions will be taken will be in line with the law,” he stated.
According to local journalist Nisar Chanjarh, who had arrived on the scene while the fire was still raging, told Voicepk.net that the police had tried to stop him from covering the incident.
“We got a call that morning that the Chauhans had attacked the Panhwars and torched their village. When we arrived, the fire was still raging and a police van from the Dubar police station was already present on the scene,” he narrated. “The police told us to stay away until the fire brigade arrived.”
However, Hammad Ahmed, a 17-year-old local whose house was among those gutted in the blaze, alleged that some policemen were involved with the arsonists.
“When the Chauhan girl eloped with a boy from our clan, we talked to the Chauhans and assured them that we will recover her for them. But they refused to cooperate and along with the police set fire to our homes,” he alleged. “We have lodged a case but there have been no arrests so far.”
The father of the missing four-year-old girl told Voicepk.net that his family had nothing to do with the dispute, however he and his family have been unjustly made to suffer.
“If the Chauhans had torn down the home of the boys who ran off with their girls, we would have no problem,” he said. “This is unfair to my family and I, our homes have been reduced to ash and my daughter has been missing since the attack. I appeal to our government to recover my daughter.”
No arrests have been made in the case registered by the Panhwar clan. Meanwhile, even after the passage of five days since the arson incident, an emergency fire response team sent by the district government has yet to arrive.