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Rape victim sets herself ablaze after accused freed on bail

Updated March 14, 2014
— File photo
— File photo

MUZAFFARGARH: A first-year student was critically injured on Thursday when she attempted self-immolation in Bet Mir Hazar area, about 40km from here, in protest against a police report which helped her alleged rapist obtain bail.

According to sources, the 18-year-old girl was returning home from her college on Jan 5 when the accused, along with his four accomplices, allegedly raped her in a deserted area.

Police registered a case of attempted rape.

When a local court granted bail to the main accused on Thursday, the girl went to the Bet Mir Hazar police station and lodged a protest with investigation officer Zulfiqar Ahmad for favouring the accused in his report.

She later doused her clothes with petrol and set herself on fire outside the police station in the presence of her younger brother. Some passers-by and policemen took her to Jatoi Civil Hospital. She was later shifted to Nishtar Hospital in Multan because of her critical condition.

Nishtar Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Shaukat Malik said the girl had sustained 80 per cent burns.

A medical expert said patients with more than 50pc burns rarely survived.

District Police Officer Usman Akram Gondal suspended SHO Rai Shahid and ASI Zulfikar.

The Punjab chief minister took notice of the incident and sought a report.

The girl had approached rights activist Mukhtar Mai to seek her help when the case was under investigation. Mai reportedly visited the police station and requested police officers to do justice.