JHELUM: A man in Dina sexually abused a teenage girl, who was on her way home from a madrassa, the district’s top police official said Monday, refuting reports that the incident was a gang-rape and confirming authorities were still searching for the suspect.
Speaking to Geo News, Jhelum DPO Captain (r) Syed Hammad Abid termed the January 30 rape case an “extremely tragic incident” and said it did not occur in the van. The minor survivor had made changes to her initial statement and, therefore, a rickshaw driver — and not the van driver or its conductor — had sexually assaulted the girl, he added.
Capt Abid noted that the police were searching for the rickshaw driver and that a van driver and its conductor had been detained and brought in for questioning, following the 15-year-old survivor’s initial statement that formed the basis for a first information report (FIR) of the alleged rape.
A police spokesperson said earlier in the day the two were detained in Mianwali within 24 hours. All facts and parties would be ascertained in a day or two, the spokesperson added.
Medical report confirms rape
According to sources in the district headquarters (DHQ) hospital in Jhelum, an initial medical report of the survivor confirmed the rape. It also indicated that there were multiple blood spots on the girl’s clothes and scratch marks — from nails — on both sides of her face and various parts of her body.
Further, Capt Abid said he and the superintendent of police (SP) for investigation, Shazia Sarwar, met the girl and her mother as soon as they had received information about the alleged rape and assured her of medical aid.
The officer confirmed that the young survivor’s initial statement was the same as that on Geo News but they were working further. “The first thing to do was trace the van; which we did and detained the driver and brought him for investigation,” he added.
Noting that police also took statements from passengers, he said that it was not a gang-rape case. “The passengers said she had stepped off at Dina whereas she was en route to Kharian,” he added, stressing that she did so according to her own will.
“We are carrying out further investigation and we have received some new evidences, so we are working on that,” he noted, adding that it was definitely a rape case and although the girl told police it was an individual’s act, it was “premature to tell”.
“When she left the madrassa in Talagang and got into a rickshaw, the rickshaw driver took her to an abandoned place where he raped her,” the DPO mentioned.
“It has been confirmed that there was no conductor on the van and there were passengers there as well,” he added. DNA swabs from the survivor were obtained and sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA), he explained.
Capt Abdi said a DNA test of the driver in police custody would be conducted soon but that that detainee was not the suspect. “The rickshaw driver, not the van driver, is the suspect,” he added.
‘Lot of traffic on GT Road’ at midday
“We had filed an FIR on the initial statement from the girl and our investigation continued based on that. We arrested the [van] driver but are still searching for the rickshaw driver.”
When asked to explain what he meant when he said the teenage girl stepped off “happily”, he told Geo News that according to the FIR’s text, she had said all the passengers disembarked the van at Dina and she was left alone. The girl said that the bus conductor and driver both raped her before throwing her on a road in Dina and fleeing.
“However, it was midday and at that time, there’s a lot of traffic on GT Road,” Capt Abid said. “It’s premature to say anything until the DNA report is released. We have obtained numerous evidences and we are working on those.
“The girl changed her statement and the case is being solved in light of the new information,” he added.
Ditched on road in semi-conscious state
The case was filed on behalf of the girl’s mother, who had claimed in her statement to the police that a van driver and conductor had raped her daughter and ditched her on the road in a semi-conscious state. The survivor was travelling from Talagang in Chakwal district to Kharian, Gujrat, but the incident occurred in Jhelum’s Dina town, she had added.
The mother had further claimed that when the remaining passengers had stepped off in Dina and the two men found her daughter alone, they assaulted her in the moving van. They then threw her off on the road and fled, she had alleged.