Sex attack on Christian child triggers protest in Pakistan
Protesters clash with police in Karachi after news spreads of an attempted rape by a Muslim neighbor
A mob gathers in the streets of Karachi’s Essa Nagri area after the attempted rape of a Christian girl on May 4. (Photo supplied)
A 10-year-old Christian girl suffered a rape attempt by one of her Muslim neighbors in a Christian settlement in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, leading to an angry protest by the minority community.
The victim had gone to the neighbor's house in Essa Nagri for tuition when she was molested by her teacher's brother. The girl managed to escape and shouted for help.
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The victim's family and neighbors surrounded the suspect's house before police were alerted. The protesters pelted stones at the police, wounding at least four of them. Police resorted to aerial shots to disperse the mob.
The victim's mother said her daughter, the youngest among six siblings, went to her tutor's house around 2.30pm on May 4.
The culprit took advantage of his sister's absence and tried to rape my daughter. She ran out crying and shouting for help, she told UCA News.
People started gathering in the streets as news of the incident spread like wildfire all over Pakistan via social media.
The demonstrators also blocked a busy road and stopped traffic
Within a few minutes, hundreds of people gathered and started beating the alleged culprit. By the time police arrived, the gathering had turned into a big mob that was getting out of control.
Station House Officer Haroon Akori said four policemen were injured when people threw stones. The demonstrators also blocked a busy road and stopped traffic.
Dr. Liaquat Munawar, a social activist and president of Mission and Action for Social Services (MASS), told UCA News that Essa is the Arabic name for Jesus, chosen for this colony in 1962, when around 80 Christian families migrated from Punjab and started occupying the area in search of jobs.
Now there are more than 1,000 houses of Christians where only 20-25 Muslim families are living in peace and harmony. The family of [the suspect] have been living in Essa Nagri for more than 30 years, he said.
Anthony Naveed, a Catholic member of Sindh Assembly, deplored the sad incident. I have spoken to higher authorities. The situation is getting back to normal now, he said.
The lawmaker also accompanied the victim's family to the hospital for a medical check-up and was present at the police station when they filed a complaint.
We need to show restraint during the protest and desist from any violent activity. I am also thankful to the administration of the hospital and police for their cooperation.
Kashif Anthony, a human rights activist and coordinator of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Karachi Archdiocese, said his commission will provide legal aid and other assistance to the family.
We need to educate our people that protest and demonstration is their right but they must not do any harm to innocent people and must not take the law into their own hands, he said.