Faith healer rapes and impregnates minor, mother dismisses complaint

The Hindustan Times/January 19, 2013

A 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a self-styled faith healer (pir) in his mid fifties in Anantnag district, 60 km from Srinagar, last summer.

The crime was discovered after a routine medical check-up of the girl revealed she was eight months pregnant. "The parents of the girl were staunch followers of the pir, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat. He used to visit their house often," said Mattan SHO Farooq Ahmad.

The girl allegedly became the victim of the healer in summer last year when he visited her home and raped her when he found her alone.

A local newspaper reported on Friday that when the girl complained of pain in her abdomen, the family took her to the same pir for faith-healing.

"It was only after she complained about the abnormal size of her stomach that she was taken to a doctor who said she was pregnant," the report said.

The report quoted police sources as saying that the girl had complained to her mother about the rape but the latter dismissed her utterances as "childish".

Anantnag SSP RK Jala said the newspaper report was correct. The girl is expected to deliver the baby in February, after which a DNA analysis will be conducted by the police to confirm the accusation.

"The crime was committed some 7-8 months ago. It is unfortunate that such a thing has happened in our society," said Anantnag DCP Farooq Ahmad Shah.

Locals said the pir has eight children from three marriages and some grand-children as well while the victim's father is a farmer without a steady income.

Despite advancement of modern thought and practice in the region, many Kashmiris still revere 'godly' people and have a staunch belief in faith healers.

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