Society

Two more survivors of rape come forward to speak about Sopore Paedophile, chilling details emerge

In the horrifying case of mass sexual abuse of young boys by accused Aijaz Sheikh, of Mundji, Bomai, Sopore, two more witnesses have come forward to speak to the media.

In an exclusive interview with Free Press Kashmir, two survivors of rape who were minors at the time, reveal chilling details.

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Majid was too young to understand that what was happening to him, was rape. It was the Djinn, he believed, who was punishing him for his ‘sins’.

Countless young boys, taken to Aijaz Sheikh, in Mundji, Sopore were made to believe that a demon was punishing them for their sins, and that it was necessary for them to help their families out of trouble.

In the testimonies recorded in court, survivors of rape claim that their families sent them to Aijaz, who posed as a Peer and claimed to have powers to ward off evil spirits and black magic. In the guise of all this, he would abuse young boys.

“I was too young, and my body didn’t respond to whatever Aijaz was doing to me, but he would force me. Over a period of three years that I was sent to him, I was raped more than 500 times,” says Majid, a survivor of rape.

Majid works in an engineering firm now, and says that the trauma destroyed his life.

“I developed serious issues. He was ruthless, and it damaged me physically inside. Every time I would go to the toilet, it was like going to fight a battle. Even though it has been some years now, I still cannot overcome the problems and every time I eat something that is difficult to digest, passing stool is so painful,” says Majid.

Majid’s medical records, taken at a clinic of a reputed valley based doctor, shows damage and ulceration at the dentate line. A part far up the rectum.

Although this alone isn’t medically enough to substantiate rape, as per a senior doctor, in the background of multiple testimonies of rape, it stands as an important document.

Majid talks about another boy who was forced into having sex with a woman as Aijaz Sheikh watched.

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Ishfaq, also a survivor of rape, talks about an incident when he was raped along with his cousin. Ishfaq says that he was sent to Aijaz Peer by his mother who believed her backache could be solved by Aijaz’s Djinns.

Ishfaq says that he saw a boy asking for a Taweez (amulet) there, to help him in a love affair, and Aijaz ruthlessly beating him up after taking off his clothes.

When the next morning Aijaz was visited by his followers, Ishfaq told everyone what had happened in the night. But Aijaz shut him up.

“He was upset that I tried to expose him, and as punishment, he forced me to take off my clothes and asked my cousin to do the same, who was also there that night. We were standing in front of each other completely naked. Both of us were in a state of shock when Aijaz Peer told my cousin to penetrate me. My cousin came on top of me and lay there for almost 10-15 minutes, but he didn’t do anything. Ajaz Peer posing as the Djinn humiliated him and called him a woman for not being able to erect his penis,” says Ishfaq.

“Aijaz then took off his clothes and raped me in front of my cousin, who witnessed the whole scene. I never went there again and never discussed this with anyone, not even with my cousin,” he adds. Ishfaq says that his cousin was sent to Aijaz for a long time.

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A senior police officer working on the case believes that the case against Aijaz Sheikh is extremely strong. And that statements of many victims have been recorded, all under the same First Information Report.

“He had threatened many of his victims, and therefore the case against him is strong,” says the police officer currently posted in Sopore. “The case is sub-judice as of now, and we hope to build it even stronger.”

While speaking to the Free Press Kashmir, Nayeema Mehjoor, chairperson of the State Commission for Women, and a senior member of the ruling party, People’s Democratic Party, says, “We are closely monitoring the case. Let us wait for the case proceedings. It is a serious issue and we will take action. The judicial system will do its job.”

Sarah Hayat Shah, spokesperson of the National Conference, like Mehjoor, believes that all steps should be taken to make the facts clearer as it is an issue that concerns the society.

Shah says that it is high time that we tell children the ‘difference between being a victim to any kind of abuse, and being a villain in the story’. “Sadly, rape survivors are reluctant to reveal their identities and go to the police, since they think it will bring shame to the family,” says Shah.

“The government should seriously look into this matter. We have to draw a line whether we want justice to be done or just stick to the depressing silence that allows the accused to continue,” she adds.

Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sopore, Masarat Roohi heard the case on September 16, 2017. In the hearing, the honourable court observed that the case has taken too much time, and that there are numerous statements recorded against the accused.

The CPO while reading out the testimonies in court, said, “There are many statements like these.” He added that “This is sufficient evidence against him.”

The case is to be heard again on September 20, 2017.

 

Names of survivors have been changed to protect their privacy.

Qazi Zaid is a journalist based in Kashmir and edits Free Press Kashmir. 

Tabish Rafiq Mir contributed to this story.


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