Seminary teacher arrested in AJK for allegedly raping 8-year-old

Published August 31, 2019
Police say the suspect, a prayer leader, confessed to having molested the girl. — AFP/File
Police say the suspect, a prayer leader, confessed to having molested the girl. — AFP/File

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) police on Friday apprehended a seminary teacher for allegedly molesting an eight-year-old girl and booked him under a law governing rape cases, an official told Dawn.

SHO Akmal Sharif said that the victim's father reported the incident to police in Bagh city at about 9pm on Thursday, some six hours after the occurrence of the ghastly crime in Jaglari Morni village.

The “wretched victim” had accompanied her father to the police station, he added.

Perspective: Why sexual abuse of children remains widely prevalent

According to the contents of the FIR, a copy of which was obtained by Dawn, the victim along with her younger sister and other village girls had gone to the local mosque for Quran lessons as per their daily routine.

During the course of learning, the teacher, identified as Hafiz Mohammad Safeer, also a local resident, took her to the mosque’s washroom where he “raped” her, the complainant alleged.

“The suspect threatened my daughter that he would end her life if she narrated the incident to anyone,” the father said.

He went on to say that when his daughter returned home she was wretched and sobbing and on being pressed by her mother revealed the occurrence to her.

“She also complained of soreness in the body due to sexual abuse,” he added.

Demanding exemplary punishment to the “savage accused,” the father alleged that the suspect had also “subjected his daughter to sexual assault” on two previous consecutive days on Aug 27 and 28.

However, the suspect had scared her so much that she did not disclose it to her parents, the father said.

The police registered a case under section 10 of Zina Ordinance and sent the victim to the District Headquarters Hospital Bagh for medical examination, the SHO said.

He said the provisional report, received on Friday, established that the victim had been molested.

“There were bruises around the genital area of the victim among other symptoms of molestation, enough to prove that the accused had attempted to rape her,” the SHO said.

SHO Sharif said the accused was arrested past midnight from a playground where he was watching a volleyball match along with hundreds of others spectators, some of whom tried to resist his arrest, saying “he is our prayer leader.”

However, despite resistance, the police did not let him go and brought him to the station, where he confessed he had attempted to rape her, the SHO said.

However, he denied having “raped” her.

He said complainant’s younger daughter had also pointed out the area [washroom] on Friday where the accused would take the victim earlier.

The SHO quoted the suspect as saying that the victim was an innocent and unwary child and would comply to whatever he would ask her.

SHO Akmal said the accused would be produced before a judicial magistrate on Saturday for his physical remand for further investigation.

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