Police have arrested five men on charges of assaulting, stripping and filming four women in Faisalabad’s Bawa Chak Market on Monday.
Confirming the arrests, Faisalabad City Police Officer (CPO) Dr Mohammad Abid Khan told Dawn.com on Tuesday that raids were being conducted for further arrests and the culprits would be given strict punishment.
The matter had surfaced when a video of the four women went viral on social media.
Subsequently, a first information report (FIR) was registered at Millat Town police station against four named suspects — Saddam, the owner of Usman Electric Store, and his employee, Faisal, Zaheer Anwar, and Faqeer Hussain, the owner of a sanitary products’ shop — and 10 unidentified suspects on behalf of one of the victims.
The suspects have been charged under sections 354-A (assault or use of criminal force against a woman and stripping her), 509 (insulting modesty or causing sexual harassment), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
According to the FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the complainant, a garbage-picker, went to Bawa Chak Market with three other women to collect garbage on Monday at around 10:30am.
She told police that they were thirsty and went inside a shop, Usman Electric Store, and asked for a bottle of water from one of the suspects, Saddam, whom they identified as the owner of the shop. But Saddam began shouting at them, accusing them of entering his shop with the intention to steal, the FIR said, adding that other suspects also reached the shop upon hearing him shouting.
They began beating the four women, stripped them and dragged them through the market. “They continued to beat us for around an hour and made our videos in naked condition,” the FIR quoted the complainant as saying. Later, some family members of the victims reached the market and passersby gathered at the spot who pleaded with the suspects to let the women go, according to the FIR.
“The suspects committed gross injustice by stripping us, dragging us through the market and torturing us and strict action should be taken against them,” the complainant said in the FIR.
According to a tweet by the Punjab Police, two of the suspects were arrested on Monday night and three others were arrested later on Tuesday.
“All aspects of the incident are being investigated,” the tweet said.