LAHORE/BAHAWALPUR: Heirs of a 29-year-old woman passenger have accused a railway police official of pushing her to death from the moving train, Faisalabad-bound Millat Express, on April 7.

The death of the woman, identified as Maryam Bibi of Jaranwala, gained public attention after a viral video showed railway constable Mir Hassan abusing her and her children aboard the Millat Express. She was later found dead along the railway line.

A spokesperson for Pakistan Railway (PR) in a press release said the PR chairman has made a four-member committee, headed by the railway police south zone DIG, to probe into the death of Maryam and submit report in three days.

The press release says that Maryam, who was traveling from Karachi to Faisalabad, started scattering the belongings of other passengers. This prompted the passengers to call the police constable who assaulted the woman and moved her to another compartment. However, the constable’s duty only extended from Karachi to Hyderabad. The press release says, according to fellow passengers, the woman suddenly jumped from the moving train near Channigoth station. Once the video of the constable thrashing the woman was posted online, the constable was arrested. He has been suspended from duty and is on bail in the Hyderabad area.

Bahawalpur District Police Officer Asad Sarfraz says that the district police are also looking into the case. The DPO said in a press release that initially heirs were not ready for her postmortem examination, but later they allowed and the postmortem examination was carried out at Ahmedpur East THQ hospital. The DPO said after receipt of the postmortem examination report, further action would be taken in a transparent manner into the woman’s death.

A PR official source, however, expressed doubts over the ‘story of Maryam’s suicide by jumping out of the train’s window. The heirs of the deceased Maryam have also accused the constable of pushing her from the moving train. Maryam’s sister, who was also traveling in the same train in another coach, told a news channel that she (Maryam) remained in contact with her during the journey till reaching at a station near Bahawalpur.

“She called me that some people, including the police official, were teasing her and the two children with her on the pretext of not having a ticket (reservation). Later she told me that the police official beat her and her nephew and niece,” she told the TV channel.

She said on reaching Bahawalpur, Maryam told her that she was dragged in the train by the police. After some time, the children told her that their aunt was found dead. “The police officials pressured the kids to give a statement that she died by suicide,” she said.

One of the children (traveling with Maryam) told the media that her aunt was reciting Quran when the police guard started beating them and took the aunt to somewhere by dragging. Later, they saw her dead when the train stopped somewhere on the way.

Similarly, the mother and brother of the deceased also accused the police guard of killing Maryam. Talking to Dawn, her mother said: “My daughter was absolutely OK as there was no mental health issue with her. The police official killed her by pushing her out of the train,” she alleged.

Before Eid, reports claimed that a woman and her two children jumped from the Millat Express, resulting in her death near Channigoth railway station, 70 km from Bahawalpur. Initially, it was suggested she was mentally unstable, and despite passengers’ efforts to restrain her, she leapt from the train. However, following the viral video of her abuse, it emerged that constable Hassan stationed in Hyderabad, forcibly took her with him after torturing her during the journey on the night of April 7. Her body was later spotted between the railway tracks near Channigoth on the morning of April 8.

Rescue 1122 in Ahmedpur East reported that upon an emergency call, their officials reached Channigoth on April 8, where they, along with police officials, found the body between the railway lines, accompanied by her two children. They shifted the body to Ahmedpur East THQ Hospital.

Maryam’s brother Muhammad Afzal also arrived in Ahmedpur East to collect the body. Due to her mutilated condition, THQ doctors were unable to perform a postmortem, only conducting X-rays on various parts. Afzal said Maryam worked at a beauty parlour in Karachi. He also filed a complaint with the police to register a murder case against the constable and his two accomplices, alleging that they also looted the deceased’s jewellery and cash from her purse.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2024

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