The alleged sexual assault of four minor girls by the head of religious institution `Noorain Fatimat-ul-Zuhra’ in Budgam, which escaped media glare, that stirred action against Asaram Bapu and Ram Rahim, reached the Supreme Courton Monday with the J&K government challenging his acquittal.
The assaults, the four students took place in December 2012. They said they had approached several important persons for justice and finally lodged an FIR in May 2013.
The trial court acquitted the accused, Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, because of the five-month delay in lodging of FIR. The high court upheld the decision.
The state, through counsel Shoeb Alam, said in its appeal that the SC had time and again ruled that delay in lodging FIR in a sexual assault case could not be cited to discard the prosecution case, more so in a rape case. On Monday, a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, despite concurrent findings of the trial court and the HC, admitted the appeal and agreed to hear it soon.
In their joint complaint, the girls alleged that the chairperson “used to call them to his room separately on the pretext of giving them religious teaching at night and used to subject them to forcible sexual intercourse. He used to take a promise from the victims that whatever happened would not be discussed with anyone and if it was disclosed to anyone, then they would be in danger”. The girls claimed that after the sexual assault, they had approached public figures like Asiya Andrabi and the Darul Uloom at Bandipora, who had assured them that action would be taken. When they did not get justice from them, they lodged an FIR.