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Karachi

January 13, 2018

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Mob thrashes school gatekeeper over rape suspicion

Enraged people vandalised hallways and classrooms of a private school in Ibrahim Haidery and tried to lynch its gatekeeper on Friday on suspicion that he had attempted to sexually abuse a three-year-old student.

A police team was dispatched to the school to arrest the suspect after police received reports that the gatekeeper had attempted to rape a minor girl, said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwar while talking to The News.

When police reached the school, they saw enraged people beating up the gatekeeper and vandalising the building, he added. The cops took the suspect into custody, took the mob out of the building and started an investigation. SSP Anwar said the preliminary investigation showed reports of the alleged rape attempt were baseless.

He said the girl’s father told police that she was complaining of pain in her urinary tract and he took her to hospital for a check-up where doctors said she was suffering from an infection. The father reportedly said his daughter told him that the gatekeeper used to let her out of the school by grabbing her arm at home time. He said he went to advise the principal to install a CCTV camera at main gate to keep an eye on activities outside the campus.

What really happened

SSP Anwar said a woman, Jameela, said to be a neighbour of the girl, knew that she was complaining about pain in her urinary tract, and her father took her to a doctor for a check-up.

He said that Jameela joined the girl’s father when he was going to school to inform the administration that she was on leave because of the infection. When the father entered school, Jameela allegedly gathered a mob and told them that the gatekeeper had harassed the minor girl on Thursday.

SSP Anwar said the mob then attacked gatekeeper and went inside the school, where they ransacked windowpanes and furniture, and manhandled teaching and non-teaching staffers.

He added that later a protest was joined by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters led by the party’s senior executive vice president, Haleem Adil Sheikh.

Case against Adil likely

SSP Anwar said a case would be registered against Haleem Adil Sheikh for attempting the gatekeeper’s murder and intervening in police work.

“When Sheikh reached the site of the protest, he was told that the suspect was sitting in a police van,” he said, adding, “Sheikh went inside the mobile, grabbed the gatekeeper by his neck and tried to strangle him.”

The Directorate of Inspection Registration of Private Institutions Sindh (DIRPIS) has formed a committee to probe the charges against the gatekeeper. The probe team visited the school and recorded statements of the principal, the girl’s parents and residents of the area.

DIRPIS Registrar Rafia Mallah told The News that the team visited the school and held two separate meetings with the parents, principal and residents. She said the team had submitted its report, according to which, the father of the girl in his written statement said his daughter told him on Thursday that the gatekeeper grabbed her arm and took her out of the school.

Mallah said the father told the team that he did not ask anyone to attack the school nor did he know about the people that ransacked the building. She said the school’s principal in her statement endorsed the statement of the girl’s father and said she deliberately handed over the gatekeeper to police to save his life.

Bid to close school

A DIRPIS investigation team member told The News that residents told them that they did not participate in the protest, and they believed that the attack was a planned attempt to close the school.

The team member, who wished not to be named, said the residents told them that the school was run by a man and his daughter. Residents were shown pictures of people who attacked and ransacked windowpanes and furniture of the school in anger, but they claimed that they did know any of them.

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Khan Siyal took notice of the incident and sought a detailed inquiry report from Malir SSP. Later, he visited the school and met the parents. The home minister assured the parents of his support and action against the suspect if he was found involved in any wrongdoing. Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khowaja also took notice of this incident and sought a report from DIG East.

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