» » » Murky circumstances surround 'suicide' of teenage girl in #Chitral

Chitral police on Wednesday arrested four local teenagers believed to be involved in the death of a teenage girl under mysterious circumstances.

The girl, a student of Grade 9, had allegedly committed suicide earlier this month by jumping into the Chitral River near Awi village, which is located over 85 kilometres north of the district headquarters of Chitral town, police told Dawn.com.

An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the teenage girl had eloped with a boy prior to her death.

The key accused, a student of Grade 10, and a friend of his had picked up the girl from her house in the Mandagh area of Awi on a motorbike at night, officials added.

He said that police believed the girl might have been gang-raped by the boy and his friends before she took her life.

A police official said the girl’s body was recovered from the Chitral River near Booni town the next day.

The body was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Chitral, where doctors conducted a postmortem examination, officials said.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered by the police against four boys — including the two who had picked up the girl from her house — under Sections 302, 365b and 24 of the Pakistan Penal Code, police said

The four were later arrested and two motorbikes belonging to them were impounded.

Initial police investigations suggested that the girl had been interested in marrying the main accused. However, when he refused, she took her life by jumping into the river.

The main accused, whom police arrested after obtaining the girl’s phone records, confessed that they had met on the night she eloped, but claimed she had later returned home.

But police officials also said that they had found the victim's shirt, torn from one side to another, in a house in the same locality.

Locals alleged that the group of teenagers had torn the girl's clothes and gang-raped her through the night.

Locals are also blaming a local provincial lawmaker of using his influence to save the arrested young men and trying to settle the case out of court.

Murky circumstances
“Investigations are in the initial stage and the circumstances that led to the girl's death are murky,” an official told Dawn.com, adding that the police are still in the dark about what exactly happened to the girl, where she spent the night, and when she had 'committed suicide'.

While police officials said that there is a possibility that the girl may have been raped, a statement from an examining doctor to this effect could not be reconciled with the post-mortem report, which denied that the girl had been subjected to sexual assault.

The postmortem report, acquired by Dawn.com, states that the girl was not raped before her death. However, a doctor at the hospital said that the medical officer who conducted the postmortem study "did not examine the girl's hymen to see if it was intact."

The official said that there remained a possibility that the girl may have been sexually harassed instead. He said the case was also being investigated from that angle.

Police have collected DNA samples from the girl's body and the suspects to conduct forensic tests.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection Bureau has also registered the report of the girl’s suicide, and a team from the bureau has visited the house of the victim and met the family to record their statement, an official of the bureau told Dawn.com.

The team has also recorded the statements from the families of the suspects.

The suicide of young girls in Chitral has been rising during past many years. Two cases have been reported in September 2017 alone.

Women rights organisations say that a number of additional cases may have gone unreported due to different reasons, including 'family honour' and the lack of police action.

Source: Dawn

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