KASUR: Six months and 10 murders, and all the deceased are minor ages five to 10 and all of them were raped and killed. And the bodies were found in under-construction houses.
An eight-year-old girl was the 10th victim of this serial killing going on in the downtown of Kasur since January this year.
A-Division police, on July 8, found her body in an under-construction house in Shah Inyat Colony. She had left her house for a street tuition centre when she went missing. The latest victim of the killing spree was a grade three student and the daughter of a domestic help.
Of the 10 minors found raped and killed, seven were girls and three boys.
After every killing, the public would resort to road protests and disperse after police’s assurance that the case would be resolved soon.
Police have, however, failed to resolve any case; two persons, which the police said were the alleged rapists, were killed in encounters “by their own accomplices”.
The ‘Husain Khanwala’ incident in which hundreds of children were abused, filmed and, later, blackmailed by local gangs some two years back had already left indelible imprints in the history of Kasur.
The serial killing started in January this year, when a five-year-old girl, of Kot Peeran, was found gagged in an under-construction house near her house. The police have yet to find any clue in their search for the murderers.
In February, the body of a minor girl of Ali Park was found in an under-construction house near her residence.
The 10 killings and all happening in the radius of 10 kilometres have panicked the people.
“I’ve stopped sending my daughters to the tuition centre after the incident,” said Muhammad Akbar, of Shah Inayat Colony. “This is horrible and more terrifying than terrorism.”
To every killing, the police have responded in a similar fashion: arrest several people in the locality of the crime.
In the last 12 days, 150 people, including a prayer leader, were taken into custody from different localities. In one case, police also took into custody the father and maternal uncles of the deceased girl. A senior citizen requesting anonymity said that A-Division had got a sort of license to pick any one for interrogation. He said that it was humiliating for the white collar class to be taken into custody on rape and killing charges.
A woman of the locality said that police had raided various houses for three nights after the incident and pick up innocent people.
A man, who who was released from police custody a few days back, told Dawn that the lock up was so crammed that he could not sleep for a moment for three days. He said dozens of the people detained in the lock up were all neighbours and had been rounded off for the minor’s killing. He said police kept them shifting from one police station to another only to dodge court bailiffs. The people were detained in A-Division, B-Division, CIA, Ganda Singhwala, Sadar and Mustafabad police stations.
Another man, who was released from police custody last week, told Dawn that police would beat them to get confession. He said their families had to grease the palms of the police officials to secure their release.
He said that police had not returned his cash confiscated from him before his illegal arrest. He said his area had not only lost a minor girl but also the dignity and honour of dozens of residents.
“I find it hard to go back to my neighbourhood to face the people after being detained in a rape-cum-killing case,” he sighed.
Civil society activists dub the entire saga a failure of police investigating. According to them, police have neither trained investigators nor modern investigative tools. Civil society activists would hold demonstration on Sunday to press the local police for the arrest of killers of minors.
Investigation Superintendent of Police Amjad Mahmood Qurashi, when contacted, said he would call media people to his office to brief on the situation.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2017