SUKKUR: The new joint investigation team (JIT), formed by the home department to help find a clue to Priya Kumari, a minor who had mysteriously disappeared while serving drinking water to mourners at a sabeel near Sangrar town of Sukkur district on the eve of Ashura on Aug 19, 2021, seems to have been groping in the dark as it is yet to get any reliable information to start work on.

The JIT, headed by Mirpurkhas DIG Javed Jiskani with Hyderabad SSP Amjad Ali Shaikh, Shaheed Benazirabad SSP Tunveer Hussain Tunio and two DSPs being its other members, was formed on April 2 under mounting public pressure and has been given three weeks to accomplish its task.

The team held a press conference in Sukkur SSP’s office on late Thursday evening to appeal to the members of the general public to come forward with the required information.

DIG Jiskani, observing that the previous JIT, formed a few weeks after the incident could not work properly on the given task, said it was indeed a difficult case. “But we will try our best to ascertain facts regarding the girl’s disappearance,” he said.

Priya Kumari was about seven years old when she went missing and the incident had sparked a series of protests across Sindh. However, the struggle by civil society organisations lost vigour with the passage of time. In recent weeks, Jeay Sindh Mahaz-Riaz and Awami Tehreek revived the issue by spearheading their respective campaigns to mobilise civil society and other nationalist groups again prompting the home department to constitute the new JIT.

DIG Jiskani said the team would not be carried away by unreliable media reports and speculations about the matter. “Rather, we will record statements of those who will offer pieces of relevant information based on facts so that we could conduct our investigation in the right direction,” he added.

The senior police officer said Priya Kumari’s relatives should first come forward to share their views about her possible kidnapping as believe by her parents. If they have doubt on anyone about involvement in the matter, they should feel free to share it with the JIT, he said, assuring them of confidentiality.

The JIT chief also asked those who had been taking part in street protests to help JIT locate the girl, instead.

The investigators also urged the general public to “pray for their success” in accomplishing the uphill task.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2024

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