Students protesting a four-year-old girl's rape in Mansehra, Pakistan Image Credit: Twitter

A four-year-old girl was allegedly assaulted in Pakistan’s Mansehra city on September 21 and now, activists and school students are taking to the streets to protest against violence against women in the country.

Local media outlets reported that according to the First Information Report (FIR) lodged, the suspect, who is said to be the father of several children, tricked the young victim, took her to a field and sexually assaulted the child. According to social media posts, the alleged assaulter is a cleric.

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Later, the locals spotted the girl bleeding and informed the police, who shifted her to a local hospital. She was later taken to Ayub Medical Complex Hospital in Abbottabad city in critical condition.

The incident occurred in the Pakhwal area of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistani news outlets reported that according to police sources, the medical examination of the victim confirmed the sexual assault.

Reportedly, when police raided the residence of the 28-year-old accused, his family members and the locals resisted the arrest, enabling the alleged assaulter to escape.

Later, another police unit led by the district police officer rushed to the scene and started a search operation, but it was to no avail.

Babar Saleem Swati, Member of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, consoled the victim’s family and assured them that the accused would be arrested.

According to latest news reports, the suspect’s brother told local media that his family had handed over his brother to the police. “If my brother is involved in such a heinous crime, we will not back him on any platform. Let the court decide his fate,” he was quoted as saying.

However, the police did not confirm the suspect’s arrest, according to news reports.

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Students protest

Meanwhile, students of various schools and colleges in the province started a protest against the incident and called for public hanging of the suspect.

Sharing a picture from the demonstrations, tweep @Andyrockz2012 wrote: “#Mansehra: The people from civil society and traders have taken to streets demanding the arrest and public hanging of the accused who allegedly assaulted a four-year-old girl in Pakhwal area.”

Tweep @Xadeejournalist shared a video of the protest and wrote: “School children in Mansehra protesting four-year-old girl’s child rape incident that happened yesterday. Alleged culprit a local Qari (cleric) was caught by police but relatives and neighbors made him escape and tortured police #WarAgainstRape”

Appreciating the youngster’s efforts, Twitter user @ARfrom1947 posted: “May these kids get all the best in the world and lead the rest to the right path, among the likes of CCPO (Capital City Police Officer) Lahore, they are a ray of light. We should be proud of them.”

@ARfrom1947 was referring to CCPO Umar Sheikh’s comments during several television interviews about a recent rape case in Pakistan, in which two men raped a woman at gunpoint while she was waiting for help on a motorway after her car stopped working in Punjab. He had suggested that the woman should have taken another route to her destination.