According to villagers in Degwal, a young girl Mehreen was raped by three youths after being abducted from her house on August 8. “She was taken from the fields where she was cutting fodder for the animals. She was there with her brother-in-law when the landlords’ servants abducted her,” said a neighbour Laiba Bibi.
“We took her to the hospital and they issued a medical report stating the girl had been gang raped,” she added.
According to Mehreen’s suicide note, she was being taunted and abused by women in the village. “They told me that I was damaged and that after what happened to me I should never again be allowed to walk in the streets of the village. They told me that I had brought dishonor on my family,” Mehreen had written. She said that this was when she decided to sprinkle petrol over herself and set herself on fire. “I want to bring an end to my family’s misery as well as my own,” she said.
“They all said that if I had any self respect I should kill myself out of shame,” she added.
Mehreen was taken to Allied Hospital Faisalabad but she succumbed to her burn injuries.
“She came to us with over 90 percent burns to her body and died a few moments later,” said a hospital nurse.
Mehreen’s family told reporters that after the incident they had filed a case with the Shahpur Saddar police. Police officials have already arrested two accused Liaqat and Shabbir and sent them to jail on judicial remand. The third unidentified accused is still at large.
“The case is being tried in court and we are searching for the third accused,” investigation in-charge Muhammad Iqbal said.
Mehreen’s family said that she had been receiving death threats from several people in the village.
“The landlord also threatened us to withdraw the case and we eventually had to seek police protection. My daughter was engaged to be married but the family broke off the engagement when they heard what had happened,” Mehreen’s father Hashim said.
The names of the victim and her family have been changed to protect her identity.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.