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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sex scandal surfaces in Kashmir as victim rescued, 3 men held in Qazigund, woman in Kangan

19-year-old Drass girl reveals how she was made to serve 2-5 men at a woman’s brothel in Kangan daily for 3 years

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 18: Exactly 10 years after a major sex scam jolted the State, and the whole country, a 19-year-old girl from Drass has revealed to Police and two judges in South Kashmir how a Kashmiri woman, who adopted her as daughter, supplied her to a vast clientele and forced her to serve two to five men daily at a brothel set up in Kangan area of Ganderbal district. While Police have rescued the victim and arrested three men, including a Congress activist, for committing on her rape at a guesthouse in Qazigund, the owner and the operator of the brothel has been detained in Kangan.

Following the raid on the guesthouse at the highway township of Qazigund, on May 6, Qazigund Police Station has registered case FIR No: 401/2016 under sections 376 RPC, 363 RPC and 342 RPC against the three accused---Shabir Ahmad Dar, Sheikh Sarwar and Imtiyaz Khan, residents of Srinagar. According to Police, the girl’s medical examination has confirmed that the three accused have committed on her rape at the guesthouse.

SP Kulgam Mohammad Irshad confirmed that three men from Srinagar had been arrested after Police learned that they were involved in sexual exploitation of a girl who claims to be only 17-year-old but appears to be 19-year-old. “We are verifying her date of birth. Even if she is 19, it is clear that she has been allegedly used as a sex worker when she was a minor. She has claimed in her statement to Police that she had been sexually exploited at a brother in Kangan and elsewhere in the last three years”, SSP Kulgam said.

Sheikh Sarwar’s son, Sheikh Azaan, however contested the claim of SP Kulgam. He told STATE TIMES that only one person, Shabir Ahmad Dar, had been found involved in this matter while as Sheikh Sarwar and Imtiyaz Khan had only given a lift to the main accused and the girl in former’s Alto car. He claimed that Sarwar and Imtiyaz were driving to Jammu when Shabir and the girl asked for a lift.

“When SHO Nisar Ahmad held my father and Imtiyaz Khan in confinement for some days and finally demanded money, my grandmother, Mehmooda Kausar, met him at his office. She handed over to him Rs 50,000 on behalf of my father and Rs 50,000 on behalf of Imtiyaz Khan. Shabir Dar’s bother Zahoor Ahmad Dar too gave Rs 50,000 to SHO at the same time in presence of his cook. The SHO assured that all the three would be released next day. But now we have heard that even after taking money, SHO has added other offences to the FIR”, Sheikh Azaan complained.

SP Kulgam insisted that the accused had already tried this allegation “to discredit the SHO and to add motives to it”. “No SHO will be a fool to the extent of demanding and taking bribes in a proven case of rape in which bail is not imminently possible. Still, we will look into it”, SP Kulgam said.

Since Chief Judicial Magistrate of Qazigund was not present on that day, Police produced the girl before CJM Kulgam who recorded her statement under section 164 CrPC.

However, in an interesting development when a middle-aged woman from Kangan appeared to claim the girl’s custody, the victim filed a petition next day before CJM Qazigund and got her statement recorded afresh under section 164 CrPC. At this point of time, she alleged that the same lady had adopted her as daughter, kept her at her home at Naran Nag, Wangat, in Kangan area, even arranged her “marriage” with a boy from Kupwara but finally served her to her clients at a brothel. She claimed that the woman had setup the brothel at her home where initially her own daughter used to serve the customers but subsequently she also used the adopted daughter for the same.

Sources said that on CJM’s direction, the woman from Kangan was taken into custody and handed over to the Police in Kangan in Ganderbal district while as the victim was given into the custody of her father in Kargil with the direction that his second wife should not harass or misbehave with the teenager.

Police Station Kangan has registered a case of brothel running against the Kangan woman and she has been detained. “We are investigating the matter. If her daughter and any men as customers or facilitators surface in the matter, we will question them and take them into custody as per law”, SP Ganderbal Imtiyaz Ismail Parray told STATE TIMES. He said that all aspects of the alleged offence under Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act would be considered during the investigation.

The girl, who claims to be the victim, is understood to have disclosed in her statement that while living in Drass her father entered into second marriage and the family shifted to Kargil. Her stepmother did not treat her well. She left for Kashmir and for about a year worked as a domestic help at a doctor’s home in Bemina, Srinagar. One day her father appeared and he took her back to Kargil. But after some time, she returned to Kashmir. At Dalgate, she boarded an auto rickshaw and asked the driver to drop her in Bemina. Instead, he carried her all the way to Naran Nag, Kangan, and handed her over to a woman. She adopted her as daughter but subsequently forced her to serve male
customers at her brothel.

Earlier this month, she again reached Dalgate for trimming her hair at a beauty parlour. One Shabir footed the bill and assured her that he would marry her. However, he carried her to Qazigund and raped her in partnership with two others at a guesthouse.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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