[Reader-list] Shopian - No Rage ?

Pawan Durani pawan.durani at gmail.com
Wed Mar 24 13:08:45 IST 2010


Suspended CMO’s clinic sealed by Pulwama Auqaf, Police
Place of doctor’s rape on woman identified as religious property
3/22/2010 11:54:53 PM

SRINAGAR, Mar 22: Auqaf Committee of Pulwama township in South Kashmir
today sealed the building which had been allegedly used by a doctor to
commit rape on a woman. However, Police swiftly swung into action and
put its own seal on the room that used to be the suspended Chief
Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Ghulam Sofi’s clinic until recently.

Informed sources in south Kashmir told Early Times that after two days
of investigation, Pulwama Police succeeded in identifying the place
where the suspended CMO Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi had allegedly committed
rape on a woman that had been recorded by unidentified persons on a
mobile phone and later circulated in the Valley. Sources said that
Police conducted inspection of at least three particular spots,
including CMO’s office and District Hospital of Pulwama, but
ultimately Dr Sofi’s clinic, situated on the first floor of a building
owned by the local Auqaf, at Rajpora Chowk in the township matched
with the video clip that has been seized by Police.

Even before Police would take further action, members of the local
Auqaf Committee, followed by a large number of residents, sealed the
building and put their locks on the clinic.

SSP Pulwama, Syed Kifayat Haider, said that Police immediately swung
into action and made it clear to the people that taking the clinic
into custody and making the investigation were the job of Police in
which there was no room for such civilian action. He said that members
of the local Auqaf and the residents cooperated with Police which
later sealed the clinic. He said that Police had registered the
criminal case (rape) under section 376 (D) and the investigation was
underway. He said that efforts were underway to identify and
interrogate the woman exploited as well as the people who made video
of the criminal act. He said that Police were questioning the doctor
for few hours of the day but clarified that he had not been formally
arrested as sufficient material evidence to take such action was not
available as of now.

Residents said that there was a lot of anger against the doctor as
well as some politicians, including a Member of Parliament, who were
allegedly trying to shield the criminals. “Be it PDP, National
Conference or Hurriyat, all of them are selective in such matters.
They have been all exposed by their criminal silence in this matter.
Only an Independent MLA has shown some concern in the Assembly”,
complained one of the members of Pulwama Auqaf. He said it was strange
that entire Kashmir valley had erupted on a rape in Shopian that was
based on speculations but everybody was tightlipped on the one in
which there was substantial material proof.

Dr Sofi, who is now facing charges of committing rape on a woman in
addition to a departmental inquiry, was among the six doctors who had
publicly confirmed “rape and murder” of a 17-year-old unmarried woman,
namely Asiya Jan, and her 25-year-old married sister-in-law, Neelofar
Jan, who had been found dead in mysterious circumstances in Rambiara
nullah in Shopian on May 29th, 2009. However, an investigation,
carried out by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alongwith teams
of doctors and forensic experts from All India Institute of Medical
Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and Central Forensic Science Laboratory
(CFSL) later established that both the young women had died due to
drowning in the nullah and no rape or murder had taken place.

CBI’s observation was primarily based on the fact that the unmarried
woman’s hymen was found intact when the dead bodies were exhumed
nearly six months after the burial. However, mainstream as well as
separatist political parties had dismissed the CBI investigation as a
“cover up” to shield the Police officials.

During the course of investigation, CBI claimed to have found that six
doctors, including then Deputy CMO of Pulwama Dr Sofi, had fudged and
fabricated evidences so as to implicate innocent Police officials in a
criminal matter in which the guilty are liable to capital punishment.
In a startling revelation, gynecologist Dr Nighat Shaheen had narrated
to CBI how she had actually collected vaginal swab slides from a
number of married woman examined at District Hospital of Pulwama and
sent the same to CFSL as the vaginal swab of the two women found dead.
She had claimed to the interrogators that Dr Sofi had influenced her
to collect and send the fudged swab to the CFSL. Public statements of
Dr Nighat Shaheen and Dr Sofi had led to violent anti-India and
anti-Government demonstrations in which at least 8 persons got killed
and over a thousand injured.

CBI has filed the chargesheet against six doctors and five
Shopian-based lawyers in a court of law which has granted bail to all
the accused who include now suspended CMO of Pulwama, Dr Sofi, and the
state government’s Public Prosecutor in District and Sessions Court of
Shopian, Sheikh Mubarak.

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