KASUR-Massive protests erupted here on Wednesday, a day after the bodies of three minor boys allegedly murdered after being sexually assaulted, were recovered in Kasur’s Chunian tehsil.

The protesters blocked roads in Chunian and burned tyres while chanting slogans against the police. The demonstrators also surrounded the Chunian police station as they protested against delay in the arrest of the accused and unending incidents of child abduction.

Four children — aged between eight and 12 years — had been missing since June with 8-year-old Faizan disappearing on Monday night.

Before Faizan, 12-year-old Muhammad Imran of Rana Town went missing on June 3, while 9-year-old Ali Husnain and 8-year-old Suleman Akram of Ghausiabad went missing on August 8 and Aug 17, respectively. Locals say a fifth child is also missing.

One of the bodies was identified as that of Faizan, while the remains were believed to be of Ali and Suleman. Police are yet to find any clue about Imran’s whereabouts.

A large number of locals attended Faizan’s funeral prayers offered yesterday.

In a post-mortem report dated September 17, the medical officer of THQ Hospital Chunian, Zuhaib Abid, said that Faizan had died from “asphyxia due to fracture of hyoid bone because of strangulation and neck choking”.

Abid confirmed in the report that the boy had died after being sodomised and physically tortured.

“Above mentioned injuries and act are antemortem (occurring or performed before death) in nature and are sufficient to cause death in [the] ordinary course of nature,” the officer wrote, adding that a final opinion will be given after receiving reports from the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA).

Meanwhile, Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz Khan said that many individuals are being investigated with regards to the incident and that three different investigation teams are working in Chunian.

The provincial police chief said that the PFSA will conduct a DNA test of the three minors’ remains and it will be matched with the DNA of the suspects.

Khan said he was getting constant updates on the case and added that an example would be made out of the suspects. A wave of shock and terror gripped Chunian when police recovered the three bodies on Tuesday. Locals suspected a racket was behind the killing of minor boys after rape.

District Police Officer (DPO) Abdul Ghaffar Qaisarani had said that the sexual assault would be confirmed after a medical report was issued, but that the possibility of murder after rape could not be ruled out. He had denied the presence of any racket.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also took notice of the incident and sought a report from the inspector general of police. He also demanded the killers be traced at the earliest.

The development came after scores of people staged a protest demonstration in Kasur on Monday against what they called the failure of the Chunian police to recover the missing minors and curb the incidence of child abduction. They had dispersed after the local administration assured them of resolving the cases.

In the last few years, Kasur has been rocked by multiple incidents of abuse, rape and killing of children. The deaths are an uneasy reminder of the horrific rape and murder of six-year-old girl Zainab Ansari — a case which sparked widespread outrage and protests across the country after the minor’s body was found in a trash heap in Kasur in January 2018.

Imran Ali, who was convicted for Zainab’s rape and murder, was executed nine months after the child’s death.

In 2015, Kasur’s Hussain Khanwala village had attracted worldwide attention when a child pornography ring was busted. Hundreds of video clips had emerged showing a gang forcing dozens of minor boys and girls to perform sexual acts and filming them. The gang had also used the videos to blackmail families of the children and extorted millions in cash and jewellery from them.