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Christian girl’s arrest sparks tension near Islamabad

Publication Date : 19-08-2012


Tension gripped a rural area near Pakistan's Islamabad recently after some villagers alleged that they had seen a Christian girl carrying burnt pages which had some Islamic text.

Police had arrested the girl on Thursday and produced her in a court on Friday. She was sent to Adiyala jail on judicial remand.

Police said some locals had reported spotting the girl “moving suspiciously” in an area carrying a shopper. “They later found some burnt papers of religious stuff in the shopper and informed us,” a police official said.

Police registered a case and arrested the girl.

Police are investigating how the villagers had come to know that she was carrying “the burnt religious stuff” and were trying to ascertain whether she had herself burned the pages or picked them up from somewhere.

According to the law, such case should be investigated by a senior officer like ASD, DSP or SP, but it is being done by an assistant sub-inspector.

During the interrogation, the girl was not able to answer questions properly, but police quoted her as saying that she was taking the papers to a “safe place”.

Police said the girl’s mental state was not stable as she suffered from Down’s Syndrome (a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation and severe learning disabilities in children). A medical examination of the girl was carried out.

Over 100 people of the area held a demonstration and urged the police to hand over the girl to them. According to sources, they wanted to set her on fire.

The police station where the girl was kept was cordoned off twice (on Thursday night and on Friday) by the protesters. They also blocked the road and threatened to attack at the police station.

Fearing a backlash, police produced the girl before the court which sent her to Adiyala Jail on judicial remand for her safety.

The police’s decision infuriated the locals who gathered at Golra Mor. Over 150 protesters scuffled with police and also thrashed them. They damaged public and private properties.

More police forces were called to maintain law and order.

Rights activist Tahira Abdullah urged the interior minister to take immediate notice of the incident. She said the girl should be treated under Juvenile Justice Ordinance.


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