Ms. Jan along with her father and brother in Srinagar narrating her side of the story. Photograph by Bhat Burhan for The Kashmir Walla
Soon after the one-year completion of infamous Kathua gangrape-murder case, another nomad family from Ramban district turned up in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar seeking justice for their daughter, Ms. Jan.
Speaking to The Kashmir Walla in Srinagar, the 16-year-old nomad girl Ms. Jan, who is a resident of Pogul Paristan of Ramban district, said that she was allegedly kidnapped and repeatedly raped by a local person, 45-year-old Mohammad Rafiq Banrey, for two months.
On 14 September 2018, Ms. Jan went to fetch water from a nearby spring at around 7 pm. “When I reached there, three persons kidnapped me,” said Ms. Jan. “Threatening me, they said, ‘if you will shout, we will kill you.’ Later, I sensed that Mohammad Rafiq Banrey, a resident of Dandrath, had kidnapped me.”
Ms. Jan claimed that she was kept captive for almost two months, and was raped multiple times. “He took me to Srinagar for some time and later shifted me to Jammu, where I was for almost 20 days,” she added.
After some time, Mr. Banrey took her to his home and forcefully kept her there for two months. “He used to threaten me whenever I told him that I wanted to go back home,” she said. “He also said, ‘if you try to run, I will kill you, wherever I will find you,’ He is a very powerful person.”
In November 2018, Ms. Jan claims that she gathered courage and succeeded in escaping from his captivity. “He was in deep sleep, and somehow, I managed to run from his home,” she said.
The girl along with her father and elder brother, Fareed, reached Srinagar on 15 December 2018 and had filed an appeal in the Srinagar High Court. “We are facing hardships in managing the expenses in the city,” said Mr. Fareed. “We don’t have any major source of income to meet such bills. We had to stay in Masjid in such harsh winters.”
The lawyer of nomad family, Bilal Ahmed, told The Kashmir Walla that the prime accused’s (Mr. Banrey) brother is serving in Indian Army; posted ‘somewhere in Kashmir valley’ only, he is also listed among the accused in the filed petition.
According to Ms. Jan’s father, Abdul Lateef, 70, when his daughter did not return home, he started enquiring her whereabouts, but, couldn’t find any. “We contacted neighbors and other relatives, but, no one had any idea,” said Mr. Lateef.
Next day, he went to Ukhral police station to report about her missing daughter. “They noted all the details in a plain paper, but could not trace her till she came back herself,” he claimed.
The other side
Talking to The Kashmir Walla, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ramban district, Anita Sharma, said that the family is lying. “First of all, they never came to me, and basically, Rubina married Rafik last September, and when two months later the marriage didn’t work out, she left along with her father,” said Ms. Sharma, who also received directions from the Jammu High Court to provide protection to both the parties involved in the matter.
As told by Ms. Sharma, no FIR has been registered in the case. Also, counter to the ‘minor claim’ by the family, the officer presented an affidavit [a copy of which is with this reporter], issued by the court stating Rubina as 19-year-old (major).
Conveying a message to The Kashmir Walla, Ms. Sharma mentioned that on 3 October 2018, Mr. Lateef produced a Panchayatnama prepared on 1 October 2018 mentioning that his daughter has been married Mr. Banrey and have settled the matter amicably in the Panchayat. Though, as requested to Ms. Jan’s father to produce the girl, so that the missing complaint can be disposed of was never completed.
Soon, Mr. Banrey took the matter in the court, which directed the police to ‘recover the girl from the illegal occupation of Mohd Lateef’ and produce before the court.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for 21 January 2019.
Meanwhile, The Kashmir Walla a few days ago reported another similar case of rape from the same district, in which the police said they are investigating the matter.