KARACHI - The increasing cases of women and children being burnt alive due to improper law enforcing mechanism are highly condemnable.

Delay in providing justice, lack of implementation on policies, police negligence, poor medical facilities, medicolegal negligence and availability of limited protection services are the factors for increasing of such incidents.

Zia Ahmed Awan, founder Madadgaar National Helpline, said this during a press conference on recent trends of burn cases in children and women, and sharing of data and live case studies of burn victims held at Madadgaar Helpline Office, Karachi.

Madadgaar National Helpline condemns this tragic incident and appeals to the government to take serious actions and the victims should be provided legal aid, medical care and compensation from government. Availability of the justice system should also be made viable and the offenders should be arrested. As unsatisfactory legal action against offenders has been a significant reason for increasing incidences of burn cases.

According to Madadgaar National Helpline’s database in 2012, 216 women’s were burnt alive. This data is just a tip of an iceberg but in reality the actual number of cases is very high due to which the lives of common people have become miserable.

It also highlighted two cases of burn victims. First, Ruqaiya a 27-year-old client resident of Nusrat Bhutto Colony, Karachi got married in very early age with a jobless and drug addict man. To manage household expenses, she needed to earn for the family. Because of marital and financial disputes, her husband tortured and abused her. On April 6, 2013, her husband under a pre-planned conspiracy, threw acid on her wife, mother-in-law along with three children. Ruqaiya’s body is 22 percent burnt and she is under medical treatment. The offender is still not arrested and threatening the victim.

Secondly, Gyan Chand Meghwar, a 14-year-old innocent minor resident of Khanpur Mehar, had also been a burn victim and lost his life. Basru, father of Gyan Chand, contacted Madadgaar Helpline about his son’s brutal killing. Basru shared that he has been involved in investigation against Krishan Kumar (offender), who has been engaged in reported crimes. Because of the enmity and revenge, the offender’s sons kidnapped and killed Gyan Chand by burning him alive. The primary offender Krishan Kumar and his three sons are in police custody with the intervention of Madadgaar National Helpline while one son escaped. Thus, the victim’s family requested to take strict actions against the offenders.

Talking to media, Zia Awan highlighted the issues of burn victims and proposed recommendations. 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. With this, Awan highlighted the most important issue that there is only one Burn Centre in Karachi, which covers the whole Sindh and some areas of Balochistan. He added that one burn centre is not enough; there is a dire need to establish more burn centres at district level. Besides this, police should be present at the burns centre to record immediate statement of victims and to provide security as the victims are threatened and pressurised to change their statements.

For healthcare system, it is recommended that effective measure 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.

In all, 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.