The family and friends of a Muslim school student who drowned last week are set to hold a protest in Bury, Greater Manchester, on Friday.
The protest was called because the family of Shukri Yahya Abdi, aged 12, reject the police’s statement about her death in the River Irwell last Thursday. Greater Manchester Police said it was “an incredibly tragic incident” and that “there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this time”.
The family is demanding a proper investigation by the police. Mustafa Omar Mohamed, Shukri’s cousin, told the 5 Pillars news website, “We don’t believe it was an accident.
“We believe there is more to this story and we don’t believe we are getting the answers and support we deserve from the police and the school.”
The family said that Shukri was being badly bullied at school and would not have gone so far away from home. Mustafa said, “We know that Shukri was being bullied—and so do the school and the police.
“It was name-calling and physical.
“I don’t know why she was being bullied but she was a timid, scared, vulnerable girl so she was an easy target. Her mum went to the school to report it and was even in the process of taking her out of the school.”
He added, “What we want from the police and the school is a proper investigation.
“We want them to be fully honest about everything that led up to this incident and we don’t feel that we’re getting this cooperation at the moment.”
Shukri and her mother came to Britain a few years ago as refugees from Somalia, east Africa. Her mother, Zamzam Canab Ture, said she was being “denied the truth” and demanded, “If the rights we came to the country for exist, I want something done.”
Anti-racists have raised concerns about the investigation.
Maz Saleem posted on Facebook that “the same group of culprits tried to push Shukri into traffic the week before”. She alleged, “A fisherman witnessed the incident he saw Shukri being dragged by her neck and her hijab by four pupils from Broad Oak school.
“He gave a statement but the police dismissed him as being drunk. His wife said she would never allow him to fish if he was drunk.”
Over 30,000 people have signed an online petition calling for answers since it was launched last week. The backlash forced the school on Thursday to open an investigation into the family’s concerns that Shukri was being bullied.
An inquest is to due to open next week.