216 women burnt alive in 2012, says Madadgaar chief

KARACHI: Founder Madadgaar National Helpline Zia Ahmed Awan said on Thursday that increasing cases of women and children being burnt alive is because of improper law enforcing mechanism.

Addressing a press conference at Madadgaar National Helpline office, he said 216 women were burnt alive in 2012. He said that this data is just a tip of iceberg but in reality the actual number of cases are very high due to which the lives of common people have become miserable.

He highlighted two cases of burnt victims as saying in first case, Ruqaiya, 27, resident of Nusrat Bhutto Colony, Karachi got married at very early age with a jobless and drug addict man. Because of marital and financial disputes, her husband tortured and abused her. On 6th April 2013, her husband hatched a conspiracy and threw acid on her wife, mother-in-law along with three children. As a result, 22% of Ruqaiya’s body is burnt and she is under medical treatment. The offender is still not arrested and threatening the victim.”

He said in second case, Gyan Chand Meghwar, 14, a minor resident of Khanpur Mehar, had also been a burnt victim and lost his life. Basru, father of Gyan Chand, contacted Madadgaar Helpline about his son’s brutal killing.

Speaking on the occasion, Basru shared that he has been involved in investigation against Krishan Kumar (offender), who was involved in reported crimes, because of the enmity and revenge, the offender’s sons kidnapped and killed Gyan Chand by burning him alive. Basru said: “The primary offender Krishan Kumar and his three sons are in police custody with the intervention of Madadgaar and one son escaped. Thus, the victim’s family requested to take strict actions against offenders.”

Zia Awan condemned this tragic event and appealed the government that serious actions should be taken and the victims provided legal aid, medical care, compensation from government, while availability of justice system should be made viable and the offenders be arrested. As unsatisfactory legal action against offenders has been a significant reason for increasing incidences of burn cases, he said.

Zia said, “Delay in providing justice, lack of implementation on policies, police negligence, poor medical facilities, medico-legal negligence and availability of limited protection services are the factors behind increasing incidences of such issues.”

He highlighted the issues of burn victims and proposed recommendations as the issue of burning children and women creates terror in our society. These cases are relevant to be sent to anti-terrorist court for speedy trials. The most important issue is that there is only one Burn Centre in Karachi, which covers the whole Sindh and some areas of Balochistan.

He said that one burn centre is not enough, so there is a dire need to establish more such centers at district level. Besides this, police deployment should be ensured at Burns Centre to record the immediate statement of victims and to provide security as the victims are threatened and pressurized to change their statements.

Zia said for health care system, it is recommended that effective measures should be taken to ensure hygienic environment for the clients as most of the burn victims are laid to death because of hospital acquired infections. However, rehabilitative services should also be provided to the burn victims like plastic surgeries so that they can lead a normal life.

Zia said the social justice system of our country needs to be regulated and serious action needs to be taken in order to help the victims and to ensure strict measures to control the accelerating level of burn cases.