After maintaining criminal silence for days on the heinous Bandipora rape case, the mainstream as well as separatist groups of Kashmir Valley –dominated by Sunni Muslims, echoed in the same voice to implement Sharia law to deal with crimes like rape in the state of Jammu & Kashmir
Deepak Zazia from Srinagar
Less than a month after a Kashmiri girl committed suicide after being allegedly raped by her father, a three-year-old girl has been allegedly raped by her neighbour in the same Bandipora district, triggering widespread protests across the Valley.
Kashmiri women protesting against the rape of a minor girl in Bandipora, J&K
On May 8, a three-year-old minor girl, who is a Shia, was allegedly raped just before Iftar (evening meal had during the holy month of Ramzan) according to the complaint filed by her family.
A relative of the victim said the accused lured the child with candy, abducted and then raped her. The family found her in a nearby area and informed the local police.
Islamia Educational Trust Trigam issued fake birth certificate in favour of the accused in a bid to establish that accused is a minor
The police arrested an accused identified as Tahir Ahmad Mir, (a Sunni) on the charges of raping the three-year-old girl in Sumbal area of north Kashmir's Bandipora district.
This was a heinous crime in the holy month of Ramzan but mainstream, as well as separatist groups, maintained a criminal silence on this incident due to their petty political interest as the accused belongs to Sunni sect.
The demand of implementing Sharia law in J&K has been raised as part of the deep-rooted conspiracy because Sunni dominated Kashmir centric, as well as separatist groups, try to shield the accused and also to terrorise non-Muslims living in J&KWithin two-days after his arrest, Principal of a school being run by Islamia Educational Trust Trigam issued fake date of birth certificate in favour of the accused in a bid to establish that he (accused) is a minor. This action of Islamia Education Trust infuriated Shias of Kashmir who came on the streets and restored to massive protests.
Protests broke out on May 12 at few places against the incident and people demanded immediate exemplary action against the perpetrators of the crime. At Khomeini Chowk in Bemina area on the outskirts of the city, clashes took place between protesters and security forces who fired pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse them.
Shockingly former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was first to raised demand for implementing Shariat law in Jammu & Kashmir. After maintaining silence for days, Mehbooba tweeted, “Mortified to hear about the rape of a three-year-old girl in Sumbal. What kind of a sick pervert would do this? Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child's fault? Times like these, Sharia law seems apt so that such paedophiles are stoned to death”.
As soon as Mehbooba raised the demand of Sharia laws to deal with crimes, other political parties echoed in similar voice due to competitive separatism.
It is widely believed that by raising such demand these parties are trying to shield the accused who is a Sunni because as per this law the "The three years old victim has to produce four male witnesses who actually witnessed this incident to prove rape. If she fails to do it, she is guilty of committing Jina (adultery) and liable to get 1000 lashes or stonned to death”.
The demand for implementing Sharia law in J&K has been raised as part of the deep-rooted conspiracy because Sunni dominated Kashmir centric, as well as separatist groups, try to shield the accused and also to terrorise non-Muslims living in J&K. “How can Sharia laws implemented in a secular state of J&K where other minorities also living ?”, asked people.
Assembly had Passed the Bill on Sharia Law
On February 9, 2007, J&K Legislative Assembly had passed a bill bringing the country's only Muslim-majority state in the ambit of Sharia laws.
Moved as a private member's bill by Opposition leader Abdul Rahim Rather in the Assembly, the House passed the legislation by voice vote without any dissent. The then Congress-PDP led Government had supported the bill Customary laws have so far governed Muslims in the state. Although some marriages in parts of Kashmir were covered under Sharia laws, J&K had no legal framework for Shariat to be applicable. Rather said Shariat laws will not be applicable so far as criminal legislation is concerned. He said the criminal laws would be governed by the Indian Penal Code and Ranbir Penal Code.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baigh had that application of Shariat laws should be subject to review by a select committee as it could create problems for those who have married non-Muslims.
Sharia law in present deals with all questions regarding inter-state succession, special property of female, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of personal law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq, trusts and trust properties.
The bill, which was introduced by Rather in the House on September 30, 2005, was then sent to Select Committee on March 29, 2006, on a motion moved by former Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma.
The then Speaker Tara Chand had set up a 9-member select committee headed by the then Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baigh on May 23, 2006.
There is fear among minorities that some sections are trying to implement Sharia law on criminal cases also to make J&K purely an Islamic state within secular India.
Booked under POSCO Act
The accused was booked under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act, a day after the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) asked the police to register the rape case under POSCO and not Ranbir Penal Code. The POCSO Act calls for the designation of special courts to put offenders on trial. The law also contains detailed guidelines on how to report a case of child sexual abuse as well as how the victim needs to be cared for and protected by special juvenile police unit or local police.
It also aims at protecting children (individual below the age of 18) from sexual violence including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and the inclusion of children in pornography and provides for the establishment of special courts for trials of such offenders. The law also lays down punishment for offenders of penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault and provides for rigorous imprisonment for life, and a fine.
The child welfare panel had also asked the police to furnish the medical report of the minor girl to the committee at the earliest. The report, however, has not been submitted before the panel yet.
A police official, who has been monitoring the case of the minor girl, said, “The final report is yet to come, but the preliminary investigation reveals that the girl has been raped. But we can only say it with surety once the final report is with us.” The alleged rape of the minor girl has triggered protests in the Valley and many have demanded stringent punishment for the accused, who has been detained. The police, however, have constituted a special team to investigate the case.
Heinous crimes are on the rise
Bandipora heinous crime took place within a month after a girl committed suicide after raped by her father for several years. That incident took place on April 13 in the same area.
On April 13, a girl from north Kashmir took her own life allegedly after being raped by her father for several years. After she consumed poison, the victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where she succumbed. A case has been registered in this regard with the police based on a complaint by the girl's sister.In her complaint, the victim's sister has alleged that the girl was raped for several years by their father but did not speak out fearing retaliation by the accused and her family who live in Bandipora district of north Kashmir. Police have registered a case against the accused under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and an inquiry into the matter is currently underway.
The victim's sister also claimed that her uncle raped his daughter. My father got to know about this and he started doing the same with my sister, claimed the complainant. She also said that she brought the matter to the attention of her grandfather who told her not to tell anyone as it would tarnish the family's reputation. She further alleged that her sister attempted to speak out against her father's misdeeds on several occasions but the accused scared her by threatening to kill her. The sister has also claimed that her father attempted to rape her as well but she managed to save herself. More details in this regard are awaited pending further police inquiry into the matter.
Earlier in September 2018, police had solved a horrific case in which a stepmother had masterminded rape of her 9-year-old daughter who was later brutally murdered.
That incident appeared to be the most horrific crime in recent times in J&K. The nine-year-old girl was ganged rape, murder and mutilation in Boniyar, Uri. According to police the girl was gang raped, strangled, struck with an axe, had her eyes gouged out and acid poured over her because, allegedly, her stepmother was jealous that her husband lavished attention and love on his children from his second wife.
The victim was gang raped and her half-brother along with stepmother was involved in the crime. Half-brother had also raped her sister.