Year After Kathua Horror, Another Bakarwal Girl Raped, Forced to Abort 3-Month Foetus
The rape of the 13-year-old girl has once again forced the Bakarwal community in Jammu to live in fear.
Jammu: A year after the horrific rape and murder of a minor girl from the Bakarwal community in Kathua, another teenager from the nomadic tribe was raped while grazing cattle in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district.
The 13-year-old victim had initially kept quiet out of fear, but revealed her ordeal after realising she was three months pregnant. The girl was made to undergo an abortion, with doctors saying the pregnancy put her life at risk.
Protests erupted last week in Ramsoo area over the rape with protesters alleging that the police were going slow with the investigation. They alleged that the rape was yet another attempt to remove Muslims from Jammu, which was also allegedly the motive behind the Kathua rape and murder.
The victim’s father said the girl was accosted by four to five men while she was grazing cattle near the woods. “She told us that she pleaded before them, but they beat her up and one of them raped her till she lost consciousness. She doesn’t how many times she was raped,” he told News18.
The perpetrator allegedly threatened to kill her and her family if she revealed the incident to anyone.
A relative said the girl realised she was pregnant a few months later and approached one of the perpetrators “who got her some medicine”. “The girl was shifted to Ramban Hospital by some of the villagers from where she was shifted to Jammu hospital,” a villager said.
The doctors at the Jammu hospital notified the minor’s parents as she developed complications and had to undergo an abortion. “The girl had developed complications and her life was in danger. It was necessary to abort the foetus,” a doctor told Newd18. “The girl was in terrible condition and her life was at risk,” the doctor added.
One of the accused was arrested after the police filed an FIR. “We filed an FIR after receiving a complaint from the mother of the victim on January 4,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Anita Sharma told News18.
“The girl has been raped but we can’t say if it is gang-rape. Her mother has also accused only one person,” Sharma said.
Police have also formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case. “As of now, we have recorded the statement of the girl and her mother. They don’t know the actual date of the crime,” Sharma said.
Police are also trying to confirm the exact age of the girl.
The case has refreshed horrific memories of the Kathua rape and murder, with the Bakarwal community members saying they now live in fear.
“We want to leave from this area. They have turned our home into hell… It would have been better had they killed us all. Why did they do this to my daughter?” the victim’s father said.
“We are living in fear. Crimes and hate against us is increasing in these areas. We feel insecure here,” said a Bakarwal tribe member who lives in a nearby village.
Ramban is over 120 km from Jammu on the Srinagar highway. The victim’s village is 15 km from the town. As per locals, the village has nearly 30 households, with the victim’s family being the sole Muslim one.
Terming the case as “blood-curdling” and “disturbing”, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said some leaders would now come out in the defence of the rapists.
“What can be more blood curdling & disturbing than a case where a 13 year old minor girl was gangraped in Ramsoo & is now 3 months into her pregnancy. But instead of public outrage, questions will swirl about the caste and religion of this innocent child and her rapists (sic),” Mufti said in a series of tweets.
“Before we know it will assume communal understones & leaders who enjoy political patronage will be out on a limb to defend the rapists,” she added.
(Author is Kashmir-based freelance journalist)
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