Kashmir: Local rapes three-year-old during iftar, people protest on streets
Once again, humanity has hit a new low. This time, in Kashmir. On Wednesday, a three-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a youth while most of the village was busy offering evening prayers, marking the start of the Iftar period. Though the accused has now been arrested, the locals couldn't be pacified. The girl's mother demanded capital punishment for the accused. Here's what happened.
The incident happened in Sumbal village of Bandipora on the evening of May 8. The girl had just started learning Quran. Since she was too young to understand the verses, the teacher taught her alphabets. On the fateful day, when she returned home from classes, the girl saw her uncle in their house. Exhilarated, she rushed towards him.
Around the same time, Azaan played at a nearby mosque and her uncle went for prayers. "She came with me outside. I held her hand and took her up to the mosque, which is a few meters away and then told her to go back home. She willingly left," her uncle said. As she walked towards her home, a youth stopped her.
The accused offered sweets to her, which he bought a short while ago. Since she knew him, the girl accepted them. Subsequently, he took her to a government school and raped her in the washroom. Later, the shopkeeper who sold the sweets spotted the accused in the streets. But the victim was nowhere to be seen. Her mother assumed she was with her uncle.
As the night neared, the girl's mother frantically looked for her. She feared the girl might have gone to a nearby pond. Soon a local woman told the girl's mother that she heard cries from the toilet of the government school. "She was crying. As I opened the door I saw her sitting on the floor with her trousers down," her mother said.
"I thought she has peed in her trouser. But when I tried to lift her up, I realized that there was blood on her legs. She told us that a bhaiya gave her chewing gums and took her there," her mother told News18.
After the victim identified the perpetrator, he was arrested. The shopkeeper said the accused also bought a shampoo sachet, which he believes the latter used during the horrendous act. "Hang him. How can anyone do this to a kid? What had she done? I feel like killing myself," her tearful mother said. Zahid Malik, Superintendent of Police, Bandipora revealed an SIT has been formed.
The inhumane incident triggered protests in the valley. Angry locals shut down schools and colleges. Public transport was also affected. Students of Kashmir University and the Islamic University of Awantipora also took to streets. Religious organization Itehadul Muslimeen called for a complete shutdown in the valley on Monday. Separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani also condemned the incident.
Leaders across party lines spoke strongly against the rape. PDP's Mehbooba Mufti wrote on Twitter, "Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such pedophiles are stoned to death." Similarly, NC's Omar Abdullah wrote, "Jammu and Kashmir Police must ensure a speedy investigation with only one consideration and that is to identify the guilty, prepare a watertight case and ensure exemplary punishment."
The tragedy in Tarigam Sumbal as beastly it is merits serious social introspection. We need to seriously ponder on this mad sickness on the prowl. We need to work hard to rediscover the moral foundations of our society.— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) May 12, 2019
The case took another turn after a school furnished a certificate to show that the accused is a minor. Reportedly, the principal of the private school is a relative of the accused and wanted to save him. However, police underscored that this age will be determined through the ossification test. The accused has been kept in "protective custody", an officer added.