ISLAMABAD: Police on Sunday confirmed that a woman who took off her clothes and started throwing debris at passersby on a thoroughfare a few days back, was a mental patient and was having a fit at the time.
Meanwhile, the city’s top cop has requested citizens to stop sharing videos of the woman, who created a ruckus near the Diplomatic Enclave.
Clips circulating online showed a woman standing in the middle of Third Avenue near the Diplomatic Avenue on October 13.
One clip showed the woman partially naked harassing motorists passing by and others who had gathered around. She also resisted attempts by a female and a male police official who tried to stop her and cover her up.
In another video of the incident, she is seen completely naked hurling debris and traffic cones at cars trying to navigate around her on the avenue.
Islamabad Police Inspector General Tariq Masood Yasin took to social media on Sunday to state that the woman was mentally ill as he urged the public to refrain from sharing the video and respect her privacy.
“She was mentally sick and would have fits in which she would make no sense. The same happened when she came to Islamabad for a visa [interview]. She had a fit, got lost, and crossed over to the adjacent road [where] she undressed and started chasing cars and throwing plastic cones around,” the official wrote in a Facebook post.
The Secretariat police told The Express Tribune that the woman hailed from Lahore. A police official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that after prolonged deliberations, they were finally able to convince the woman to cover up and put on a shawl before shifting her to the Women’s Police Station. Once in the precinct, officials contacted her family in Lahore.
Ultimately, the woman’s parents came to Islamabad and took her with them.
“This could happen to anybody with a mental disorder,” he urged in his sympathetic post.
Social media menace
This was not the first incident of ‘audience culture’ – where passersby stop and gawk at a difficult situation but refuse to act as good Samaritans — in the city. In August, a video of a topless woman who was a transgender went viral on social media, eliciting similar complaints from citizens and the police.
Sehrish – the transgender woman – allegedly tried unsuccessfully to rob a man named Ahsan Malik at an ATM in F-10 before removing her top and loudly accusing the man of having sexually assaulted her. Passersby recorded videos of the incident but no one intervened. When Sehrish, who was allegedly part of a gang of robbers, began hitting Malik’s luxury car with pebbles, a ‘passerby’ offered to move it to a safer location while he resolved the argument. The passerby turned out to be Sehrish’s accomplice and stole the car. The car was later recovered and the suspects were arrested.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2016.