KARACHI/LAHORE: Eager to meet her two minor kids first time after her divorce some six weeks back, a young woman from Karachi never knew that her journey to Multan would aggravate her misery.

She was not allowed to meet her son and daughter by her in-laws and on her return journey to Karachi she was raped by three train staffers.

The PR claimed that two of the three suspects had been taken into custody from different cities of Punjab. Besides, the Multan-based station manager of the private firm operating Bahauddin Zakriya Express was also taken into custody for negligence.

On Monday, Additional Police Surgeon at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Dr Summaiya Syed told Dawn that the 25-year-old woman was brought to the hospital by personnel of City railway police station on Sunday night. “A medical examination confirmed that she was gang-raped,” she said.

Two of the three alleged rapists held; FIR lodged in Karachi

She told the doctor that she got divorced around three months ago and she had gone to meet her children in Muzaffargarh from where she was returning to Karachi in a train when at Rohri a ticket checker offered her a seat in the air-conditioned compartment of the train.

Quoting the victim, Dr Syed said in the compartment two or three persons gagged and tortured her and subjected her to the gang rape.

“The rape survivor was brought to the medico-legal section of the JPMC at around 11:30pm on May 29. She gave the history of the rape by multiple people who allegedly took advantage of her after moving her to the AC compartment without charging any money. Her examination was consistent with the findings of the recent sexual and physical assault,” said the doctor.

After her medical examination, the railway police lodged an FIR against three employees of the private train service under Sections 376 (punishment of rape) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the City railway station in Karachi.

The FIR stated that she took the train from Muzaffargarh for onward journey to Karachi and she was raped by the train in charge and two ticket checkers in the moving train.

Railways version

According to PR Chief Executive Officer Farrukh Taimur Ghilzai, the victim, before the tragedy, was already under immense domestic stress after being disallowed by her in laws to meet her children.

“She was already in great troubles, as she was first divorced by her husband,” Mr Ghalzai told Dawn.

He said she started travelling to Multan by Zakrya Express on May 26 in a bid to meet her kids (a daughter and a son). On May 27, she reached Multan railway station after travelling for over 14 hours. However, at station, her ex-husband received her and told her that he couldn’t bring the kids at the station as his parents in Muzaffargarh did not allow him to do so.

She decided to return to Karachi on the same day by the same train. “Since she was alone, some staffers [three] of the contractor spotted her and took him to the AC compartment from the economy class, where they raped her one by one,” Mr Ghlzai said.

He said when she reached Karachi Cantt Station on May 28, some PR police officials found her sitting at a bench. On inquiring, she didn’t tell the lady police about actual story. However, the police helped her in calling some of her relatives at the station and take her home.

As she stayed there for a considerable period of time, the lady railway police took her to the help centre of the station where a telephone contact was made with her sister, who arrived along with her husband and took her.

Later, he said, a local newspaper published this incident on which the railway teams reached her home and making her agreed to give a statement before police. And finally she revealed the story after which she was taken to the JPMC for a medical examination.

No deployment of Railways police in train

An official of the PR police headquarters in Lahore revealed that there was no deployment of the PR police officials in the train for safety and security of passengers, train, engine, crew (driver, assistant driver) etc., as, under a contract, the provision of security arrangement in the train was the duty of the private operator of the train and not of the railway police.

“The train was being run by a private firm / contractor after its commercial operation was outsourced to it by the PR. And under the contract, it was the contractor’s liability to deploy security officials in the train,” he told Dawn.

“But, as soon as we came to know the situation, our respective police station actively worked and arrested all by raiding their houses in the areas of Samundari (Faisalabad), Jahanian (Khanewal) and Shorkot (Jhang),” he said, adding that the four guards detained earlier were released for not being involved in the incident.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2022

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