Kidnappings of Muslim girls in Kushinagar distt
ushinagar district in eastern U.P. is part of the fiefdom of the Gorakhpur BJP MP, Adityanath. His militia, Hindu Yuva Vahini runs the show here with full police and local administration support. Whenever needed, direct intervention by Vahini leaders and by Adityanath himself is made to settle the issue in favour of like-minded Hindus. Kushinagar district has a population of 36 lakh out of which 17.4% are Muslims. While Muslims in the urban centres of the district are not touched, Muslims in villages, who are mostly poor and illiterate, are bearing the brunt of Adityanath militia’s lawlessness.
During our visit on 30-31 December, 2015, we noticed three kinds of activities:
a. kidnappings of very young Muslim girls by Vahini supported Hindu youth;
b. objection to repair or extension of existing mosques;
c. one-sided riots on trivial issues just to show who is supreme.
It came to our knowledge that very young Muslim girls are being kidnapped, or lured by agents of Hindu Yuva Vahini. They are taken to Adityanath’s temple in Gorakhpur where they are raped, purified (shuddhi karan) and then married to Hindu boys in an Arya Samaj mandir in the same city. This activity started in earnest since 2013. Some girls are taken to other cities also. Some are sold to other men or to brothels. Most of the girls have simply disappeared while a few have managed to come back to their families which are constantly harassed. In some instances, their families and villagers shun them as they consider them “impure” and a source of dishonour and embarrassment.
We met the following girls during our short visit:
1. Rubina d/o Muhammad Haneef, a small-time farmer/labourer of village Dhamrauli under Kotwali Hata. She has been kidnapped three times so far and each time she has managed to come back to her family. The kidnapper is her village neighbour, Ritesh. After she returned home, the Circle Officer (CO) of the area called her father (Muhammad Haneef) and told him to let the girl return to the Hindu boy to live in luxury. On his refusal, he was severely reprimanded, abused and told that ‘we will turn your daughter into a randi (prostitute) and place her on a kotha (brothel), then you will live on her earnings.” Heneef could not bear this insult, collapsed in the CO’s office and died then and there. Now Rubina’s mother takes care of her and two other younger daughters. Her brother works as a labourer in Rajasthan and this keeps the family going as their land holding is not enough to sustain them. To increase pressure on Rubina, the CO has slapped a case against her under SC/ST Act claiming that she abused her kidnapper (Ritesh) who belongs to Gond community which is considered a part of SC/ST. This was to force her to withdraw her complaint against her kidnapper.
2. Rubina d/o Chokat of Gram Madhopur, thana Bishanpura, has studied upto class VIII and is around 15 years old now. In March 2013, Manto s/o Karan Chandra of the same village lured her on the pretext of showing her Gorakhpur exhibition. From there he took her to Pune before returning to Kushinagar where he kept her in a secret place near the village. He pressurised her to marry him which she refused. Attempts were made to rape her by three youth including the kidnapper. She managed to flee and return to her family and filed a complaint against the kidnapper. Now she is being pressurised to retract her complaint.
3. Sameena Khatoon d/o Basheer [or Baseer] Ahmad of Madhopur. Attempt to rape her and two more Muslim girls was made on 5 March 2015 by Santosh s/o Nathuni of the same village. Reportedly, Santosh had the support of Saudagar Rai, SO of Bishanpura who was later transferred to the crime branch. This happened after the village Muslims (150 families) had just returned after a riot engineered by Hindu Yuva Vahini. After she registered a complaint, SC/ST Act was slapped on her father and her siblings. They have secured bail.
4. Angoori, d/o Nasruddin (tailor), around 14 years old, of Banjaria village under thana Bishanpura, was kidnapped in circa Nov/Dec. 2014 by Chandan and Arvind etc. with the help of a woman neighbour called Manju of the same village. Angoori was returned by police after aborting her 6-month-old child whose whereabouts are not known. A sadhu, Rameshwar of the same village, has helped Angoori and stood by her family. Angoori has a soft corner for her kidnapper and said she is prepared to marry him if he converts to Islam.
5. Rabia Khatoon d/o Bahadur of village Kurmaul, thana Padrauna, is educated upto class VII or VIII. She was kidnapped but managed to flee after 2-3 months and came back to her village. Though her father is ready to accept her, villagers are not. Now she is living incognito in a Muslim girls madrasa in Kaptanganj while her kidnapper is in jail.
6. Aneesa Khatoon d/o Aslam, 15 yrs, of Veer Abdul Hameed Nagar alongwith Hina Khatoon were kidnapped in March 2013. They were taken to Muzaffarpur to be sold to a brothel. She was rescued by police after a customer got wind of the bargaining that was going on for their sale. (We did not meet her).
7. Zubaida Khatoon d/o Muhammad Sabir, aged around 13, of village Chaubia Rampur, thana Barvapatti, was kidnapped by Arvind s/o Rameshvar, 18 years, of the same village, on 23 January 2013. Case No. 36/13 was filed on 12 April, 2013 under Sections 363 and 366, etc. She is living with her kidnapper in the same village and has given birth to a child. (We did not meet her).
General observations: Families of the victims are illiterate and extremely poor. They do not understand the nuances of law, cannot stand the pressure of the Vahini and local police, cannot bear the legal expenses. Hence mostly they do not register a case.
(This is based on information gathered by the writer who led AIMMM delegation to Kushinagar on 30-31 Dec., 2015. The earlier report and the text of the fact-finding report was published in the previous issue of MG)