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SARGODHA: As emotions are running high with condemnations pouring in from across the country through protests over the rape-cum-murder of Zainab, more cases of disappearance, sexual assault and murders of minors surfaced in central Punjab during the last 24 hours. There are also reports of police action in some cases.

The body of a 15-year-old girl was dumped in the fields after murder and alleged rape at Chak 15-NB, Tasawarabad, tehsil Bhalwal, some 40km from Sargodha, on Thursday.

The father of the victim alleged that she was raped before being killed. The family, relatives and the people from the village staged a protest and blocked traffic in Bhalwal town.

District Police Officer Chaudhry Sohail reached the spot and assured the victim’s family that the culprits would be arrested. He announced that he would bear the expenses incurred on the funeral prayers for the deceased and shifted the body to hospital for a post-mortem.

Later, the Bhalwal police claimed to have arrested the suspect who confessed to killing the girl. He denied rape charges but did not deny the attempt to rape. The police said the autopsy report would show whether the girl was raped or not.

It may be recalled that in the Bhalwal police area, a 10-year-old vendor was killed after sexual assault in November 2017 and the police had refused to register the case. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken notice of the incident and suspended the station house office (SHO) and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) from service.

KASUR: Pattoki police on Thursday recovered the body of an 11-year-old boy who was allegedly strangled after sexual assault at village Dholan, Chak 27, in the limits of Sadar Pattoki Police Station.

The 6th grader who was a resident of village Dholan on Multan Road, some 60 km from the district headquarters, had gone missing on Tuesday after he left the house on his bicycle. The farmers spotted his body in a sugarcane field near his house on Thursday and informed the family.

The Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) Pattoki confirmed that the boy was sexually assaulted before being killed.

The family and relatives of the boy held a sit-in outside the THQ hospital as they demanded the post-mortem report. After a protest of about four hours, they got the body as well as autopsy report and ended their protest. According to chairman of the Dholan Union Council, Muhammad Aslam, the autopsy report confirmed that the criminal(s) had sodomised the boy before strangled with his own shirt.

FAISALABAD: Dijkot police on Thursday took 10 suspects into custody on suspicion of murdering a 16-year-old boy who was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Jhok Kharlan.

The victim, Faizan, a class 9 student, had gone missing on Tuesday night. His family and relatives looked for him but to no avail.

According to the family, the boy had left home to see his cousin who had a shop near their house. On Wednesday, some women found a shoe of the boy near a sugarcane field and raised alarm. During the search, the boy’s body was found buried inside an under-construction building.

Iqbal Town Superintendent of Police Mahrooz Ali said a murder case had been registered against unidentified killer(s). He said the autopsy report had confirmed the murder. But findings were awaited to see whether the victim was sexually assaulted before being killed. The SP said there were bruises on various parts of the victim’s body.

SHEIKHUPURA: Farooqabad police shot dead a rape suspect in an encounter in early hours of Thursday.

About 10 days back, an eight-year-old girl, a resident of Shahdara, accompanied her mother to Guru Nanakpura locality of Farooqabad to see relatives. She went to a shop to purchase eatables when a vagabond, later identified as a resident of the same locality, abducted her and took her to a house. He strangled her after raping her and threw her body in a dustbin.

The City Farooqabad Police Station had registered a case. The girl’s body was found about five days back. The post-mortem report revealed that she was raped.

After identifying and tracing the suspect, a police conducted a raid to arrest him on Thursday. When they reached his hideout on the Kujar Road, the suspect allegedly opened fire on the police. The policemen retaliated and killed the suspect.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018