JAMMU: Thanks to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for seeking a fast track court to deliver justice to eight years old Rassana rape and murder victim. Thanks to millions of Indians, including Bollywood celebrities, Pakistanis, including global terrorist Hafiz Sayeed and the people around the world, including Pak-origin Lord Ahmed of London for raising the issue in the Upper House of the UK Parliament. Thanks to volunteers of JNU Tukde Tukde Gang, spearheaded by some Sheila Rasheed, for raising funds in the name of justice to Kathua victim. Thanks to hysterical television anchors for portraying Jammuites as rapists’ supporters. Thanks to all those whose conscience has been awakened by the eight years old angel despite 99 girls on an average getting raped across the country every day and over 36,000 every year. Thanks again to all those who exposed the real face of ‘Hindu brutes’, as summarised by Hafiz Sayeed.
However, there is anguish as well-anguish against Mehbooba Mufti’s government for letting Kashmir’s self-styled godman, Gulzar Peer off the hook for sexually abusing several young girls, including minors, at his religious centre, Khansahib in Budgam district of the Valley; against the conscience-keepers the world over for not speaking a word; against the JNU Brigade for not reaching out to the victims in the Valley; against the celebrities and film-stars for maintaining stoic silence, against the Congress for not taking out candle marches, against all the television channels for not launching national campaign; against Hurriyat, which took extraordinary interest in Rassana case and allegedly directed the government against holding any CBI enquiry; against all those who are unusually active this point of time.
Why Mehbooba Mufti and Dr Nirmal Singh’s government didn’t reopen the case to nail Gulzar Peer by making out a fool-proof case to dispense justice to innocent minor girls, especially as courts had passed strictures against the prosecution? Can’t it be done now when the Crime Branch has very brilliant officers, including the one who rightly treats minor victims as Kanjikas, which can re-investigate the case for taking it to higher appellant courts, especially in the wake of observations made by a Division Bench of Jammu Wing of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court while acquitting Gulzar Peer on the charges of ‘raping four girl students at his seminary’ in 2013? The four students too are as good as Kanjikas.
In their verdict on March 3, 2017, little over a year ago, Justice Janak Raj Kotwal and Justice B.S Walia had come down heavily on the Jammu and Kashmir Police for ‘miserably’ failing to prove the case, pointing out that the reason for delay in filing of FIR and failure to prove the seizure of evidence from Gulzar’s home turned ‘lethal’ for the case. In the instant Rassana case, on the contrary, the Crime Branch wing of the same police not only carried out and charge-sheeted the case in 15 days but exposed the ‘huge’ conspiracy behind the rape and murder as well.
In the Gulzar Peer’s case, police had listed 13 people as accused and 18 prosecution witnesses, of whom all but one were examined. Tehsildar Mohammed Hussain Shah had died ‘natural death’, according to police. Going against the laid down procedures in law, the police had made no secondary witness to the sealing of the material. Ironically, the court had observed that the sealing of these materials could not be proved, which went against the prosecution’s theory.
Earlier, on February 12, 2015, Gulzar Peer and other accused were acquitted by the Sessions Court Budgam, observing that prosecution had failed to prove the guilt against them. Why did the prosecution fail? What action was initiated by the Mehbooba Mufti government against the erring prosecution? Where had newly found love lost for girls gone at that point of time? Were the poor, innocent, minor Kashmiri girls’ children of lesser gods?
Though the Mehbooba Mufti government did nothing yet a Division Bench of J&K High Court, comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey had stayed the verdict of the Sessions Court, observing that in normal cases a court does not stay a judgment or order for arrest of the accused in an acquittal appeal yet made it clear that “perusal of prosecution witnesses made out a strong case in the plea at hand to issue directions”.
The judges had also observed that girls who were subjected to sexual assault had given graphic details in the manner they were trapped and subjected to sexual assault.
“After perusal of the statements of the prosecution witnesses, more particularly of those minor girls who have been subjected to sexual assault, a very strong case is made out for issuance of interim directions”, the judges had observed.
Now that a new awakening has taken place in Jammu and Kashmir, will the four innocent victims of Gulzar Peer also get justice along with the unfortunate Rassana victim? When shall Mehbooba Mufti go for appeal or order reinvestigation of the Gulzar Peer case and book all those who failed to prove the earlier case? After all justice to rape victims should be the objective of the government!
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