4 men allegedly sexually assault woman in PaK's Neelum valley

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad, Sep 12: A middle aged woman from Neelum valley alleged here on Tuesday she had been gang raped by four men in her village and a local ruling Muslim Conference leader had stopped her family from seeking justice from police saying he would decide the matter in a jirga (local court).
Qasim Jan, 45, told reporters that the tormenting crime occurred on the night of Friday (September 8) when her husband Abdul Rehman was out of their house in Chalai village, some 52 kilometres northeast of here.
“The accused, who were seven in number, hauled me half a mile away from our home to a deserted house owned by one of them and threatened they will break my bones and later shoot me,” she told reporters in a choked voice, as her husband, her eldest daughter Riffat, 15, and two other children looked on.
Jan spoke to reporters at the office of ‘Press for Peace’ – a non governmental organisation of Kashmiri journalists working for human rights and environmental protection after the family met DIG Police (Headquarters) Tahir Mahmood Qureshi in his office who issued instructions to Neelum valley police to submit a report on the alleged incident within five days.
Jan has identified the alleged accused as Rafique and his brother-in-law Abdul Shakoor, Ghulam Mustafa and his sons Mushtaq and Rafaqat, Farid Ahmed and Shaukat in her application, stating that four of them had raped her turn by turn on that night.
She told reporters that two hours after her abduction, some of the accused also brought her (eldest) daughter there and confined her in a separate room.
“When I came to know she is in the other room, I literally fell in their feet and begged them not to molest my innocent daughter,” she said.
Responding to a reporter’s question, the lean girl said four people dragged her to the same house but did not assault her sexually. “Late at night they also allowed me to join my mother in the next room, she said.
Jan said the next morning the accused removed them to Athmuqam to the house of a local MC leader Haji Malik Yaseen where her husband also arrived.
“They (accused) had threatened me of dire consequences if I disclosed the overnight incident before Yaseen and due to their fear I told him I had been beaten only,” she said.
But later, when Yaseen came to know what had happened he stopped us from approaching the police and said he would decide the matter in a jirga, said the alleged victim’s husband, a carpenter by profession.
He said Yaseen was an influential person of the area and without his nod the police would not do justice to them.
“This is why we have travelled to Muzaffarabad to narrate our ordeal before police high ups and media,” he said.
However, when asked what was the motive of committing such a heinous crime by the alleged accused, the couple could not offer a satisfactory reply.
“I had refused to work at the residence Ghulam Mustafa (one of the accused) who took its revenge with the help of his sons and other accomplices,” the husband said, disclosing that one of the accused Rafique was his step brother’s son.
The family expressed the hope that media will help them in brining the accused to justice.
Stretched over around 200 kilometres and home to nearly 150,000 people, the picturesque valley still faces problems like fiefdoms where locally influential leaders dictate their terms in land grabbing, abductions and other marital disputes.