Most attractive boy was picked after every session of forced group sex: Survivors speak against Kashmir maulvi
The survivors allege that they had no choice but to quietly follow the Peer's directions as their families had blind faith in him. Some of the rape survivors have reportedly developed medical complications after being sodomised.
Peer Aijaz Sheikh has indeed left indelible scars on his alleged victims. Speaking to Mail Today, the rape survivors recall chilling tales of abuse, fear and pain inflicted upon by Sheikh, who has been accused of raping minor boys in Kashmir on the pretext of warding off evil by summoning jinns .
The alleged victims of Sheikh, known as Maulvi Sahab among locals, were so naive that some of them even thought that they would get pregnant and for years lived in the fear of having contracted sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some of the rape survivors have reportedly developed medical complications after being sodomised.
The victims alleged that they had no choice but to quietly follow the Peer's directions as their families had blind faith in him. Sheikh is currently out on bail and the next hearing of the case in scheduled for September 27.
RAPE SURVIVORS SPEAK UP
"I was 11-year-old when my uncle took me to Aijaz Sheikh. I was sexually abused several times. One night, there were around 10-11 children in the age group of 11 to 14 at his house. He forced us to perform sexual acts from evening until next morning. He used to watch us and would then decide to rape the most attractive boys present there," alleged a victim. Similarly, another victim said Sheikh was a sadist and he was so obsessed with sexual exploitation that he would actually rape kids in front of each other in different positions.
"Once, he sexually abused me to the extent that I fell down on the ground and was badly hurt. I was so innocent that I asked myself what if I get pregnant? What am I going to tell my parents if that happens? For years to come, I feared that I might have also contracted some STDs. Having come out against the accused makes me feel scared for my life." The alleged victims, some of whom are in their teenage now, still can't forget the nightmares. One of the teen rape survivors, who claim to have been abused for four years, told Mail Today, "I was forced to drop out from school as I had to oblige the Peer's demands. I miss school. Wish I had never gone there. I want to go back to school and finish my studies."
Interestingly, the Peer's alleged abuse dates back to the time when he used to teach Quran and Arabic in a school. "I was in Class 4 when I met the Peer. One day he took me to his leisure house in Dangerpora. He would tell his followers to bring a child aged 12 or below, and let the child to spend the night with him. When I was there he told me that I had to sleep in his room, for which I would get money. Soon I found his dark side. He would rape me while pretending to be possessed by jinn. But one day, he mistakenly exposed himself to me and then I realised that I was being abused. I got angry on hearing this and gathered courage to threaten him," said an alleged victim, who was also his student.
SURVIVORS SHOWING SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
Mail Today also spoke to the psychologist who is counseling some of the rape survivors in this case. She said these victims have shown symptoms of depression, anxiety, guilt and fear.
"It is not just their physical health, but even their emotional and mental wellbeing have been deeply impacted. The incident has affected their desire to live." While the matter is in the court, the absence of a child protection Act like POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) has devoid the victims of the sensitive approach to deal with such cases. According to child rights' activist and advocate Anant Asthana, a special law like POCSO is the need of the hour in Jammu and Kashmir to help child victims of sexual offences in availing support from authorities, immediate compensation and a stringent criminal justice system for speedy trial.
"Good thing in POCSO Act is that it not only takes in account the vulnerabilities of victims but also takes cognisance if criminals are the persons who hold authority, influence or dominance over the child in any manner. May be not the entire POCSO Act but a substantial part of it, which strengthens a child victim of sexual offence, must be legislated in J&K. It brings in focus that victims of sexual offences can also be a male child and it is as horrendous as rape of a female child." Asthana said not only a special law but also an independent and strong state commission for protection of child rights in J&K is very essential. "In fact, we need to think of bringing a law better than POCSO because circumstances of children in J&K are much more difficult and complicated. We need to pay more attention on aspects of maintaining absolute privacy of children, more effective measures for protection of victims and witnesses and increased financial allocations for rehabilitation of victims of sexual offences."