“Whatever has been done to my daughter, if there is any justice in this world, I want that — for my daughter; if not, kill me along with her,” says Duman Shah, father of 12-year-old nomad girl, who has been raped by a group of locals in Ramsoo area of Ramban district in Jammu and Kashmir.
On 4 January 2019, a 12-year-old minor girl from Varnal Sarbagni village of Ramsoo was admitted to a hospital in Jammu after she had felt sick, a few days ago. It was the doctor at the hospital who had informed the family that the girl was pregnant.
“After the rape, she was three months pregnant”
When she was admitted to the hospital, the minor girl was three months pregnant and was discharged from the hospital after five days. Currently, she is at the police station in Ramsoo.
Abdul Gani Chowdhry, a relative of the girl who was with her at the hospital, told The Kashmir Walla that three months ago she was outside with their cattle when five persons from the same village surrounded her, and later one of them raped her.
“She had fallen unconscious and does not know how many times she was raped,” said Gani. “After she was conscious again, those men had told her that if she will tell the matter to anyone, they will kill her and the family too. She was quiet since then but it was a few days ago that she had told one those five men that she was feeling unwell. He had given her some medicines that caused her extreme bleeding.”
As per Gani, the family is poor and uneducated, who don’t understand the matter or the situation. Her parents had shifted her to a local hospital where the doctors referred her to Srinagar for further treatment.
“It was after USG [Ultra Sonography] reports, they got to know that she is pregnant,” said Gani. “This has shocked them and they had taken her back to home. But before she could reach there, she had fallen unconscious again and was bleeding extremely.”
She has told the name of one accused to the police officials. The family of the girl is the only Muslim family living in between twenty to thirty Non-Muslim families in the village.
Police start the investigation, one accused arrested
After the incident came to light, a police case was registered on a complaint filed by the girl’s mother at Ramsoo police station on 4 January 2019 under FIR number 1 of 2019 under section 376. Beginning the investigation, the police officials arrested one of the accused, Sanju Singh son of Gaja Singh of Vernal village in Ramsoo.
Ms. Anita Sharma, Superintendent of Police, Ramban, while speaking to The Kashmir Walla over phone confirmed that the girl was admitted to a hospital after complaining of sickness. “She was shifted to a hospital where doctors told the parents about her pregnancy,” said Ms. Sharma.
The family of girl or anyone from the area had not reported the incident to the police. It was only after she was admitted to the hospital that the matter came forward. “If the villagers were knowing it, why didn’t they come to us,” asked Ms. Sharma.
Ms. Sharma further added that the police have started the investigation of the incident and if there would be more persons involved in it, they will take the action.
“There are reports that the girl was gang-raped by multiple times by a group of people,” added Ms. Sharma. “We had received information from her mother, who told us that there is involvement of one person. We arrested him immediately.”
After Asifa in Kathua, now another nomad Muslim girl in Ramsoo
After the news of this incident went viral in the area, massive protests erupted in Ramsoo area on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Locals staged a protest and said that they are seeking justice for the 12-year-old girl who has been raped.
President of Jammu and Kashmir Gujjars United Front (Jammu), Anwar Chowdhury, while speaking to The Kashmir Walla, said that a tribal girl has been raped a few months ago. “She got pregnant but the child was aborted due to which she profusely bled. We are visiting Ramsoo to see what is the situation. We heard that the accused is a VDC [Village Defense Committee] member. We have some local activists in Ramsoo, who are monitoring the situation.”
Situation in Jammu division has been turning communal since the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl Asifa in Kathua. Gujjar community leaders, like Chowdhury, say that the life for nomad community has been turned into hell.
Back in Ramsoo, the girl’s father, Shah adds, in grief stricken voice, that they are eight members in the family. “If justice can’t be done with the family, then all the family members should be killed.”