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KARACHI: A watchman of a private school in Ibrahim Hyderi was detained by police on Friday for allegedly molesting a minor girl student, which triggered a protest by area people who broke windowpanes of the school building, earthen flowerpots and ransack the premises, officials said.

Quoting the father of the minor girl, Malir SSP Rao Anwar Ahmed told Dawn that the incident allegedly occurred on Thursday morning in the M. F. Grammar High School. The girl informed her parents in the night that she was not feeling well. The minor girl told her parents that an “uncle at the school touched her private parts”.

The parents first took her to a nearby lady doctor, who examined her and ruled out the possibility of a criminal assault, the police officer told Dawn. The father told the police that he was furious over the incident and visited the school on Friday morning to lodge his protest.

The Malir SSP claimed that in the meantime, a woman leader of a political party in the area also arrived there and allegedly called some people, who broke windowpanes of the building, earthen pots, etc, on the school premises.

The school administration called the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, who rushed to the spot and contingents of the police also reached there and detained the assault suspect.

The police officer said that the father appeared reluctant to lodge an FIR of the incident and get the minor girl examined by doctors at any government hospital.

The SSP added that the unmarried suspect hailed from Thatta district and his two uncles already worked in the same school as watchmen.

During the initial probe, the detained suspect claimed that he performed his duty at the school at night and left in the morning. He denied his involvement in the incident and any wrongdoing.

The police said that the suspect was detained for further questioning.

The Malir SSP said during ransacking of the school, it was also rumoured that another such incident had also occurred at the school a few days ago but so far, no one approached the police to report the incident.

The Malir SSP said the authorities had decided that a case would be registered against the protesters for ransacking the school building. He claimed that the police had obtained the video of the ransacking by rioters. On Friday evening, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal visited Ibrahim Hyderi and met the father of the girl.

Talking to the media, the minister claimed that the girl was not subjected to a criminal assault.

The minister, who was accompanied with Additional IG of Karachi Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar and DIG East Sultan Ali Khowaja, claimed that this incident was being used for gaining political mileage by a political party.

Without naming anyone, he said the leader of a political party allegedly tried to portray it as an incident of ‘criminal assault’.

The minister urged the parents, teachers and other citizens to properly inform their children about such things.

He directed the Additional IG Karachi to suspend Ibrahim Hyderi SHO who “misrepresented the incident as an assault against the girl”.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the incident and issued orders for immediate inquiry and action.

“This is unacceptable,” said Mr Shah, adding that he wanted inquiry, action and other proceedings into it.

Earlier, PTI leader Haleem Adil Shaikh visited the home of the girl but her parents reportedly refused to meet him.

Talking to the media outside the home, the PTI leader claimed that two children were recently killed after rape in Quaidabad and Shah Latif Town, but the police were not taking these cases seriously.

Meanwhile, IGP Sindh A. D. Khowaja took notice of the incident and sought a detailed inquiry report from the DIG East.

He also directed the DIG East to take area elders and other stakeholders into confidence to effectively control the law and order situation and keep a strict watch on miscreants.

Mr Khowaja also directed the DIG East to brief supervisory officers about timely action in such incidents.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2018