(): At least 15 minor male students at a seminary were allegedly raped by two teachers in Pakistan’s Punjab province, police said on Monday, days after the suspects were arrested.
The incident took place in Chakwal district, some 275 km from Lahore, Punjab Inspector General Police (IGP) Usman Anwar told reporters here. Both the teachers, identified as Zeeshan and Anis, have been arrested and are being interrogated, he said. “The two teachers of a seminary in Chakwal district sexually assaulted at least 15 male students, aged between 10 and 12. The number may increase during the course of the investigation,” the IGP said.
The statements of all the 15 victims and their parents have been recorded. The children have also undergone medical examination and rape has been confirmed, he said.
Knife and bite marks have also been found on the victims’ bodies, police said. Police have also taken an administrator of the seminary into custody.
The scandal came to the fore when the father of one of the victims approached the Punjab police last Friday seeking help.
The father said he visited his son at the boarding seminary on Friday. “Seeing me my son broke into tears and narrated the story of rape and torture inflicted on him by his two teachers. He also said that he was not a lone victim as his other classmates were also subjected to sexual assault at the hands of Zeeshan and Anis,” police officer Wahid Mahmood quoted the victim’s father as saying to police.
Based on the man’s statement, a police team raided the seminary and arrested both the teachers and recorded the statements of the victims who said that the two paedophiles would torture them for refusing to submit to them.
District Police Officer Captain (Retd) Wahid Mehmood told the Dawn newspaper that a team of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency visited the crime scene and collected DNA samples.
“We have also recovered a knife that suspects used to inflict cut marks on the bodies of students.” According to the FIR, the suspects wrote ‘Z’ on the victims’ bodies.
Mehmood said that the management of the seminary was informed a month ago about the abuse.
Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi has assured the victim families that “instant justice” will be provided to them. He said the suspects would face the maximum punishment for the heinous crime.
“A task has been given to the IGP and the prosecution secretary to ensure that perpetrators of the horrific crime are punished as soon as possible,” he said.
There have been constant incidents of rape of seminary students by their teachers in Pakistan. Rights and civil society activists have been demanding that the government introduce a strong monitoring mechanism at seminaries to control rape incidents.