Interior Minister Suspends Policemen For 'Excessive' Baton-Charge On Aurat March

Interior Minister Suspends Policemen For 'Excessive' Baton-Charge On Aurat March
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Wednesday that the policemen involved in baton-charge on the participants of Aurat March in Islamabad have been suspended.

The march is held annually in different cities to mark the International Women's Day and advocates for women's rights.

The statement came after police reportedly resorted to excessive baton-charge on the participants of the rally.

In various videos of the incident in the federal capital, police personnel can be seen using the batons on the participants and misbehaving with them, with one official repeatedly shouting, "Don't touch me."

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Announcing the action, Sanaullah said, "Other persons responsible for misbehaviour are being identified, and proper action will be taken against them too."

In an earlier tweet, the interior minister said that the IG police Islamabad had been summoned, vowing strict legal action against those responsible for the mistreatment.

'Police began pushing us'

According to one of the march's organisers, police resorted to charge at the protesters as the transgender persons performed on the stage.

She added that the personnel then began to push them back, which received a verbal response from the participants, and a chaos ensued.

Rights activist Dr Farzana Bari and those accompanying her were also baton-charged and hurt with barb wires, according to her daughter.


Meanwhile, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman denounced the police action, “Islamabad police had no business baton-charging a small peaceful procession."

She added, “It is the women holding laathis that need to be pushed back, not progressive women. Sad to see this happening. I will seek an inquiry."

In another tweet, the PPP leader said, “There is no excuse for this. That too on International Women’s Day. This is not what we fought for and will not tolerate it.”

The violence also prompted a statement from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. “Women have as much right to peaceful assembly as any citizen. The police are supposed to provide security to the marchers, not to resort to violence against peaceful demonstrators."

'Police supports participants'

Islamabad police said that the high-ups have taken notice of the incident and a report has been sought.

“Islamabad police apologises for this incident,” it said. “Police stands with the participants of the march for the protection of women rights.”