Police, victims to challenge Gulzar Peer's acquittal

Police, victims to challenge Gulzar Peer's acquittal

The four girls who had accused Gulzar Peer of sexually exploiting them have also decided to challenge the acquittal in the High Court.

Prosecution has decided to approach Jammu and Kashmir High Court to challenge the acquittal of rape accused ‘faith healer’ from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Gulzar Ahmad Bhat alias Gulzar Peer.

 

Peer was acquitted by Principal Sessions Court Budgam of rape charges on February 12.

 

“There is sufficient evidence on record to convict the accused. We are going in appeal against the judgment of the trial court,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, AbdulGani Mir told Greater Kashmir.

 

The trial court while acquitting the accused held that the prosecution has ‘failed to prove the guilt against the accused persons including Peer beyond any shadow of doubt under criminal jurisprudence.’

 

The four girls who had accused Gulzar Peer of sexually exploiting them have also decided to challenge the acquittal in the High Court.

 

The self-styled faith healer was arrested for allegedly raping minor girls on the pretext of “purifying their soul” in May 2013.

 

The four girls Saturday appeared at Press Enclave here and protested. “The verdict of Principal Sessions Court Budgam is against the Supreme Court guidelines. We will appeal against the decision in the High Court and fight for justice,” the dejected victims told media reporters.

 

Quoting various Supreme Court judgments, they said: “The release of fake faith healer and rapist is murder of justice. The Supreme Court has clearly ruled that if a girl says that she has been molested or raped by someone, the accused should be strongly punished. We wonder how and why the witness of five girls was turned down by the Budgam court.”

 

“He raped at least 40 girls in his so called ‘Hujra-e-Khaas’, we wonder how he has been released,” said one of the victims.

 

The victims were aghast as to why their medical certificates which, according to them, confirmed the rape also were not given any weight by the Budgam court. “We had produced our medical tests as well but that too were not considered by the court so we have decided to knock the door of High Court.”

 

“We dared to raise the issue only to get justice. In future no victim can raise voice against sexual exploitation if criminals are let off,” they said.

 

They appealed the civil society to help them in getting justice and saving other girls.

 

“We also appeal High Court Bar Association to come forward to provide us legal help. The society has to make a collective effort and take pledge that rapists are awarded stern punishments,” they added.

 

“We were threatened from time to time and even offered money to take our complaint against this rapist back,” they said, adding, “However, we fought with courage with the hope that justice will be delivered. We will not allow criminals to escape from law.”

 

Meanwhile, on return to his native village Latur, Shamsabad, of Budgam district, Gulzar today told his followers: “I was defamed and implicated in false case. It was a test from God and I succeeded in it.”