by Saima Bhat
SRINAGAR: In a heart-numbing incident, a girl (name withheld), 27, died after battling for her life for four days at SMHS hospital on Friday. She had committed suicide at her home in Chaliwaan, Chittendanday area of district Bandipora, after the local police were informed that her father has raped her and was attempting to rape her younger sister, an eleventh-grade student.
Police have made arrests and the case has been taken up for investigations on priority, given the sentiments of the residents.
Reports quoting locals, including the whistleblowing young girl, suggest that her father was exploiting the girl, who ended her life, for almost last three years. Their father, Wilayat Shah Qureshi, 44, was heading the family that comprises their mother and their four children: two daughters and two sons.
The whole incident came to the public after Qureshi, as per his second daughter, 17, tried his hands over her to which she refused and resisted. She has written a note ‘justice’ to police, that Kashmir Life, accessed. The note narrates how her father tried to rape her and was already doing it to her elder sister for the last three or two years. Written in English, the note briefly talks about how she resisted the attempts and how her sister felt ashamed after the sinful details came out of the family closet. In her note, she has appealed the Deputy Commissioner to get into the case and punish the culprit.
“He asked me to sleep with him but I refused. I tried to flee away and reached upstairs so that I could kill myself by jumping from the third storey of the house. But my father came running after me and stopped me from taking such step and promised that he won’t ask me again,” the only of the two sisters told local reporters on the record. The local media in Bandipore had gone to the village to inquire about the reasons that led a young lady to commit suicide.
But not keeping his promise, according to the whistleblowing daughter, Qureshi allegedly again asked her for the crime but this time she went to her grandfather, who as per her, did not support her. Finally, she went to one of her uncle’s house who reported the incident to the local police station. While the police was on its way to the Chaliwaan village, which is a remote area on the Bandipora-Gurez road, she says, “My another uncle, who was also raping his daughter continuously before her marriage, told my eldest sister that police is not going to leave her as well for hiding the crime for three years so she consumed the whole bottle of poison. Initially, my sister tried to raise her voice but nobody believed her.”
The girl was shifted to district hospital from where she was referred to SMHS hospital in Srinagar where she died on Friday at 4.30pm. “The girl was repeatedly raped by her father and unable to bear the mental agony she took some poisonous substance after that she was referred to hospital and during treatment, she died,” the police spokesman said during the day while revealing the identity of the rapist father.
Late Friday, as the body of the victim reached her home, police first shifted the body to the district hospital for mandatory post-mortem. Later, she was laid to rest. Police sources said the autopsy report would be available by a fortnight. The accused father and his two brothers have been arrested under FIR No 04/2019 under sections 506, 376, 306 in police station Aragam.
In one of the videos shot by a local reporter, the whistleblower daughter has said that their mother knew about the crime but she was never allowed to reach out to the people for help. Her two brothers are giving two different statements. The elder, 15, is working in some hotel in Srinagar, claims that their uncle is trying to settle some scores with his father but his another brother, who is just 8 years old, claims he is a witness that his father was doing wrong to his sister.
But on Saturday morning, the shocked locals in the village protested on the main road including two of accused’s brothers who want stern action against their brother.
The Chaliwaan area in Bandipora district is a remote area, almost 12 km away from the main town. The accused father, Qureshi has earlier served with 92 battalion of BSF but then deserted his battalion along with his service rifle. “He was court marshalled after which he returned his gun. He owned some land and was engaged in farming. But we were always afraid of this family as Qureshi’s are seven brothers who run gunda raj in the area,” claims one of their neighbours.
Qureshi’s have been associated with a political party and two of their brothers are Sarpanch and numberdaar of the village as well. “They are not good people. They remain mostly drunk,” said another neighbour.
Residents have now opened to reveal more about the family. When Qureshi’s second daughter refused to do what he wished to, he tried to marry her off. “Ideally he should have married his first daughter first but he used to say he doesn’t want to marry his eldest daughter,” alleges another neighbour. Though angry over the shocking incident, the residents are still scared.
After the incident broke out to become the nastiest news of the day, Bandipore’s former lawmaker Usman Majid, reached out to his twitter account and wrote: “Shocked, Disgusted & feeling sick to the core! What a shameful day for us. The rapist should be given such exemplary punishment that people should remember the lesson forever. We the people of #Bandipora demand stern action against the culprits…”
Srinagar’s Deputy Commissioner, Shahid Chowdhary, who earlier served Bandipora also reacted: “A daughter in Kashmir has ended life after being raped by the father,” he wrote on his twitter. “Don’t know how to hide the human identity and run away from this shame.”
Mutahida Majlise Ulema (MMU) expressed deep shock over the shameful and shocking incident. It said that it’s the responsibility of one and all among us to protect our moral and social fabric so that acts of such a grave concern are not repeated. “It was painful to see that in the land of Sufi and saints, social evils especially liquor abuse, drug addiction was growing which was a serious concern for Kashmir,” a statement issued to the media said. “All segments of society should introspect about these issues and see how they can contribute to their personal and collective capacity to rid the society of these grave issues.”
“Deeply shocked over this shameful and shocking incident,” Mirwaiz Umer Farooq wrote on Twitter. “It reflects the moral degradation in sections of our society which is highly unfortunate. it’s the responsibility of one and all among us to protect our moral and social fabric so that such disgraceful acts aren’t repeated.”