Kashmir Muslim “Faith Healer” On Trial For Raping “Thousands Of Children”

Aijaz Sheikh
 Free Press Kashmir

“After allegedly committing mass sexual abuse of minor boys, Aijaz Sheikh, a ‘faith healer’ from Sopore’s Mundji village had been dodging the court hearings for one or the other reason. After a five month long wait, the victims took a sigh of relief when the hearing of the case took place on Thursday. One among the survivors of the abuse, Siraj (name changed), has testified against him.

After a long wait, Siraj says, “finally the court heard the case, despite Sheikh’s attempts to further delay it.”

Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sopore, Masarat Roohi heard the case and it was she, Siraj says, who pushed Sheikh’s lawyer to cross examine him.

“Today, his (Sheikh’s) lawyer was trying not to let the case proceed. But the judge told him she would cross verify me herself if he does not. After that Sheikh went to him and then he agreed upon questioning me. He was trying to test my memory. He was asking me about my Uncle’s marriage, name of the teacher, my home etc. He was trying to confuse me but I defended,” Siraj said.

For half an hour, Siraj was questioned. He had shared his ordeal before the court after which the announcement for the next hearing was made. It is to be held on June 27.

Aijaz Sheikh has maintained that he is innocent and that all allegations against him are baseless.

Pertinently, CJM Roohi had heard the case on September 16, 2017. In the hearing, the honourable court observed that the case has taken too much time and that there are numerous statements recorded against the accused.

On April 10, Sheikh was booked in another case under Section 13 of Unlawful Activities Act. He was not presented before the court after that as well. However, Siraj alleges that ‘Sheikh is a big fish and must have arranged his arrest so this case could not be heard.’

Hopeful that the testimony of other victims would be heard soon, Siraj says that he had tried to convince other victims (his classmates) to come forward and talk about the abuse.

“They say they are married now. There is a lot of social stigma attached to it. It is hard for anyone to speak up.”

Siraj says he might have let go as well, however, he did not because Sheikh allegedly continued his abuse.

“I would have forgiven him but he continued to do with others what he did with us,” says Siraj adding, “and he is not even sorry about it. He was smiling in the court. I was wondering why!””

‘Dark demons and child rape: How this faith healer abused countless young boys for decades’

 

Free Press Kashmir

“The room smelled of charcoal. The lanterns simmered as the Peer stood in front of it, a huge shadow cast behind. His silhouette gleamed at the sides with a back light, his robe flaring with the wind coming through a half-open window, fire in his eyes.

The boy was down on his knees in front of the Peer. He couldn’t look up—the Peer was possessed and you would burn if you looked into his eyes.

The Djinn was taking over the Peer, and Djinns could do anything, even slit the throat of the boy’s family.

This was no play. The Djinn knew everything about the boy—his past, his future—he could gaze into his soul, look past him, and burn his house if he lied. You couldn’t lie, you just couldn’t hide anything.

The boy kept looking down, shivering. No one would want to stand against the Djinn and no one could come to his rescue. He was at the mercy of the demon of fire, and he had to stay—to help solve the problems of his family. This was dark magic, and the Djinns only worked in the night. And it was only the boy who could help rescue his family from the curse.

***

It’s a sunny day.

Standing outside the court, the man fiddles with his phone as he walks in the corridor leading to a wooden door, numbered on the top. He waits for the call from a media person, things wouldn’t move otherwise. Someone important has to pull the strings. He takes a seat beside the creaky table. He fiddles with his phone again.

Aijaz Sheikh, the peer, is out on bail and there is nothing that can be done now.

Two years ago, when the man had talked to his wife about it, still believing the Djinn would return and hunt him down, pin him to the floor and slit his throat, she had been perplexed.

“Really, what Djinn are you talking about,” she had asked. “Tell me clearly, what did he do to you?”

The lawyer walks in. “Hello! I was asked to meet you here, regarding the peer, am I right?” The man nods.

Several hours and trips later, the lawyer comes again with a dusty file and hands over some documents to the man. “You can have the Xerox copy,” he says. “But it’s been so long, there isn’t much you can do. You are wasting your time.”

***

The Djinn has taken full possession of the Peer’s body. It is just the boy and the Djinn now. The curse on his family can only be broken by the Djinn. But there is a price to pay. There is always a price. And the boy is ready, his little hands trembling.

The Djinn speaks, his voice heavy. It mixes with the smoke from the lanterns. “You can’t hide anything from me, I know everything,” the Djinn says.

The boy is ready to reveal his secrets, even the time he touched himself.

“You have sinned, and your family is suffering because you have denied a life. Now you must offer more life and plant it inside me. Are you ready?”

There is nothing the boy can do. He has to pay for his sin. He has to penetrate the Djinn, but he can’t. His body just wouldn’t respond.

The Djinn makes a counter offer: he will penetrate the boy.

***

The peer is already a free man, the bail is granted to him, but the case is to be heard again, by another Judge. It was almost done, the peer was behind bars, he couldn’t hurt more young boys anymore, till the time militant commander Burhan Wani was alive. His death spelled a doom to a lot of young men and the system collapsed. The man couldn’t follow up with the case, his abuser was free, and he was helpless.

The man’s uncle who had taken him to the Peer had no idea then. He was just trying to solve the problems his business was facing. It was famous in the village that the Peer could solve all problems, he had Djinns who could fix things. It was all a lie.

“Let us see what happens during the hearing. Justice is a big word,” the lawyer says. He moves the files to the side, crosses his arms, and leans back into his chair.

The man’s pulse is racing. He has lost his sleep again. Ram Rahim was jailed, there was new hope. The other victims were not as willing to speak out of fear. Society doesn’t accept such people, he thinks.

“Why do you take so much time in the bathroom?” the man’s family had asked laughing, to the younger brother, who the man now knows, was also sent to thePeer.

He can almost imagine the younger brother sitting on the pot, bleeding.

***

The Djinn makes the boy shed his clothes after a few rounds of possession and de-possession, changing between Kashmiri and Urdu, each time.

The boy clutches his fist as the Djinn makes him bend, pulls his underpants down and forces himself in, pain blurring the lines between reality and fiction, the breath of the Djinn gaining pace as he violates him, each thrust making him want to cry, the Djinn’s hand on his mouth making him suffocate in helplessness. He had to pay for his sin, and no one could know, the Djinn had made it clear.

Having finished, the Djinn leaves and the Peer returns: “What did you speak to the Djinn about,” he asks.

The boy curls in pain in a dark corner.

***

The man shuffles through the documents as he is reminded of the time the police raided the house of the Peer. A young boy, the Peer’s relative, visibly violated, was found in the house.

One of the cops had forced a camera into the small boy’s face. “What does thePeer do to you? Will you speak or not?” he had shouted at the boy too scared to speak.

The man looks at the file: FIR number 22/2016, section 377 RPC. Another page says: Case FIR number 4513/N40, police station Bomai, Sopore. One after the other, endless pages in Urdu, he tries to read the testimonies.

There were many, like the times when he was made to perform the act on other young boys, much younger than him, sometimes in groups, while the Peerposing as the Djinn would watch with his hands on his penis, moving them up and down.

Young bodies, one on top of the other, too scared to disobey the peer.

***

“There is no Djinn, how did you even believe it? You have been raped!” the wife had told him. Then it had dawned, as he broke down.

He met many others—hotel owners, business professionals, now old, some still young, some abroad, others in Kashmir, some freshly violated—fifteen years after the man was repeatedly raped, over two thousand boys he thinks, in a span of 15 years.

A recent survivor, a boy now working as a labourer whose testimony was recorded in court, works in a fruit market.

Shifting boxes of apples, he thinks about taking off his school uniform and going to the Peer to solve his family’s problems, some years back. He should have studied more, he thinks, as he keeps shifting boxes of apples.

Aijaz Sheikh, the peer, out on bail, passes by in a car. The boy stands and watches it go by, wondering if there’s another young boy being taken to the Peer tonight.

Two more survivors of rape come forward to speak about Sopore Paedophile, chilling details emerge

Free Press Kashmir

“In the horrifying case of mass sexual abuse of young boys by accused Aijaz Sheikh, of Mundji, Bomai, Sopore, two more witnesses have come forward to speak to the media.

In an exclusive interview with Free Press Kashmir, two survivors of rape who were minors at the time, reveal chilling details.

***

Majid was too young to understand that what was happening to him, was rape. It was the Djinn, he believed, who was punishing him for his ‘sins’.

Countless young boys, taken to Aijaz Sheikh, in Mundji, Sopore were made to believe that a demon was punishing them for their sins, and that it was necessary for them to help their families out of trouble.

In the testimonies recorded in court, survivors of rape claim that their families sent them to Aijaz, who posed as a Peer and claimed to have powers to ward off evil spirits and black magic. In the guise of all this, he would abuse young boys.

“I was too young, and my body didn’t respond to whatever Aijaz was doing to me, but he would force me. Over a period of three years that I was sent to him, I was raped more than 500 times,” says Majid, a survivor of rape.

Majid works in an engineering firm now, and says that the trauma destroyed his life.

“I developed serious issues. He was ruthless, and it damaged me physically inside. Every time I would go to the toilet, it was like going to fight a battle. Even though it has been some years now, I still cannot overcome the problems and every time I eat something that is difficult to digest, passing stool is so painful,” says Majid.

Majid’s medical records, taken at a clinic of a reputed valley based doctor, shows damage and ulceration at the dentate line. A part far up the rectum.

Although this alone isn’t medically enough to substantiate rape, as per a senior doctor, in the background of multiple testimonies of rape, it stands as an important document.

Majid talks about another boy who was forced into having sex with a woman as Aijaz Sheikh watched.

***

Ishfaq, also a survivor of rape, talks about an incident when he was raped along with his cousin. Ishfaq says that he was sent to Aijaz Peer by his mother who believed her backache could be solved by Aijaz’s Djinns.

Ishfaq says that he saw a boy asking for a Taweez (amulet) there, to help him in a love affair, and Aijaz ruthlessly beating him up after taking off his clothes.

When the next morning Aijaz was visited by his followers, Ishfaq told everyone what had happened in the night. But Aijaz shut him up.

“He was upset that I tried to expose him, and as punishment, he forced me to take off my clothes and asked my cousin to do the same, who was also there that night. We were standing in front of each other completely naked. Both of us were in a state of shock when Aijaz Peer told my cousin to penetrate me. My cousin came on top of me and lay there for almost 10-15 minutes, but he didn’t do anything. Ajaz Peer posing as the Djinn humiliated him and called him awoman for not being able to erect his penis,” says Ishfaq.

“Aijaz then took off his clothes and raped me in front of my cousin, who witnessed the whole scene. I never went there again and never discussed this with anyone, not even with my cousin,” he adds. Ishfaq says that his cousin was sent to Aijaz for a long time.

***

A senior police officer working on the case believes that the case against Aijaz Sheikh is extremely strong. And that statements of many victims have been recorded, all under the same First Information Report.

“He had threatened many of his victims, and therefore the case against him is strong,” says the police officer currently posted in Sopore. “The case is sub-judice as of now, and we hope to build it even stronger.”

While speaking to the Free Press Kashmir, Nayeema Mehjoor, chairperson of the State Commission for Women, and a senior member of the ruling party, People’s Democratic Party, says, “We are closely monitoring the case. Let us wait for the case proceedings. It is a serious issue and we will take action. The judicial system will do its job.”

Sarah Hayat Shah, spokesperson of the National Conference, like Mehjoor, believes that all steps should be taken to make the facts clearer as it is an issue that concerns the society.

Shah says that it is high time that we tell children the ‘difference between being a victim to any kind of abuse, and being a villain in the story’. “Sadly, rape survivors are reluctant to reveal their identities and go to the police, since they think it will bring shame to the family,” says Shah.

“The government should seriously look into this matter. We have to draw a line whether we want justice to be done or just stick to the depressing silence that allows the accused to continue,” she adds.

Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sopore, Masarat Roohi heard the case on September 16, 2017. In the hearing, the honourable court observed that the case has taken too much time, and that there are numerous statements recorded against the accused.

The CPO while reading out the testimonies in court, said, “There are many statements like these.” He added that “This is sufficient evidence against him.””

 

“Faith Healer” Aijaz Sheikh Has Sexually Abused Thousands Of Children

Feminism India

“I have been trying to understand Aijaz Sheikh’s mind and how he managed to fulfil his penchant for violence for more than 2 decades and how he got away with the crime for so long. Aijaz Sheikh is accused of having raped thousands of children in North Kashmir, as young as 10 years old, in the past 2 and half decades.

I came to the conclusion that it is actually not him who is smart enough to have gotten away with the crime, but the cowardice of the people around him who gave him various lifelines from time to time.

Aijaz Sheikh started his journey as a madrassa student somewhere in West India and after spending a few years there, he was apparently beaten and kicked out of themadrassa for reasons unknown. Given his history of sexual abuse of over 20 years, it is very likely that he was kicked out of the madrassa on charges of sexual abuse.

I wish the madrassa officials had filed a case against him instead of simply kicking him out. I believe they deliberately didn’t file a complaint against him for it would have raised questions about the safety of children and the overall functioning of themadrassa. By kicking him out, Sheikh was actually provided with a chance to start life afresh and sexually abuse more and more children at his convenience.

Upon his return to Kashmir, Sheikh impressed some people with his recitation of theQuran in a village in Handwara and became an Imam. Knowing that there is a tradition in Kashmir where an Imam not only leads prayers in a mosque but also teaches the Quran to children in his spare time, he might have chosen the profession after giving it good thought.

Aijaz Sheikh didn’t lead prayers in this mosque for too long and is believed to have been kicked out of the mosque too. Again, no FIR was lodged and no one dared to file a complaint against an Imam Sahab for it would have brought a bad name to the mosque as well as Islam. Sheikh got another lifeline, thanks to our irresponsible attitudes.

Now, since the doors to both the madrassa and the mosque were closed for Sheikh, he chose to become a school teacher in another village near Sopore. Being a serial perpetrator of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Sheikh knew which places to go to where he would have access to children. Keeping in mind the nobility of these professions, it is important to understand that we don’t do proper background checks before hiring anImam or a teacher.

After becoming a teacher, Aijaz Sheikh started keeping students in one after another at his rented place for the night. Parents would feel pleasure and show gratitude for a ‘saint-like’ teacher was showing so much interest in their children. Due to their faith in Sheikh as a teacher, he was able to sexually abuse many of the children.

The sexual abuse inflicted upon children continued to increase. He kept fantasising about raping more and more children until he was exposed by someone and it is believed that the school authorities also kicked him out. Unfortunately, they might have also thought about the reputation of the school and decided against filing a complaint in the police station.

Aijaz Sheikh got another lifeline. His confidence must have been at a peak. He knew all he needed to do in Kashmir was to gain access to children, sexually abuse them and the worst that could happen is that he will be kicked out, allowing him to look for more prey.

Simultaneously, Aijaz Sheikh had floated this theory in the market that he possesses some Jinns who can heal anyone’s problems. However, there was a condition. Unlike other faith healer’s Jinns, Sheikh’s Jinns would not talk to anyone, not even to Sheikh, except pious souls (only young boys) below the age of 14.

By then, people had started bringing children and leaving them for the night at his house. Once Sheikh’s option of going back to school was over, he decided to become a full-fledged faith healer. Given the mental trauma people of Kashmir are living with due to decades of conflict, it wasn’t a big deal for him to guess what people were suffering from.

I remember him giving a tablet (Librosar) to every single person who would visit him in 2002. I got to know in 2016 that Librosar is an anti-depressant tablet. Sheikh would claim that the amulets that his Jinns write are equal to 10,000 mg of normal medicine and hence Librosar is a must to take with his Amulets to neutralise the effect of the high dose of his Amulets.

People kept leaving their children at his house and Sheikh kept fulfilling his ever-growing dirty and violent fantasies. He didn’t spare a single kid who stayed at his house for the night. Some gathered courage and never returned after they were abused for the first time.

Some continued visiting him for years out of fear. The vicious cycle stopped only for 30 days in March 2016 when Sheikh was arrested by the police and later granted bail by one of the judges, thanks to our primitive judicial system for being so kind to even criminals of Sheikh’s standard.

Here are some of the quotes from the survivors of Sheikh’s abuse:

“One night, there were around 10-11 children at Aijaz Sheikh’s house. He forced us to rape each other until early morning. He was watching us and then decided to rape the boy, whom he deemed to be the most attractive.”

“I was sent there for almost 3 years and was sexually abused more than 500 times. I had intestinal bleeding and developed rectal ulcers and other medical complications with time.”

“I remember pleading with him that I can’t do it because I had a fever. He then changed his mind and made me perform oral sex on him.”

“The reoccurring flashbacks can be so painful at times. It is like watching a movie in HD with your eyes closed. You can’t do anything about it. You can’t run away from it. It is your mind showing you the worst nightmares of your life. The harder you try to stop it, the more frustrating it gets.”

“There was a time when I really started hating men with long beards. It would remind me of Aijaz Sheikh’s abuse. His beard would touch my shoulders and neck while he would rape me. It has taken me a long time and plenty of courage to overcome that trauma.”

“During my first counselling session, I ended up crying for hours. I had never thought that the pain and trauma inflicted upon me would be so deep. I could tell my counsellor was having an equally tough time dealing with my trauma.”

“I was lying naked next to him and he asked me to turn around. He then started touching my backside with his penis. After a while, he asked me in Kashmiri, ‘be hyeka thok lagaewith’ which means: Can I put some spit on your anus? I was dumbstruck and too traumatised to say anything back to him. He put some spit on my anus and inserted his penis. He did it with all his brute force and for a second I felt like the soul left my body. I still remember him saying, ‘kinh chun parwaaye godnik phir chu Lagaan’ which means: It is ok, it hurts for the first time.”

“I remember Aijaz Sheikh telling me to close my anus while he removed his penis after having come inside of me. I used to think that it is important to close my anus, otherwise my intestines would come out. So I would try my best to close it as much as I could. He would moan and later praise me for being a brave boy.”

“One night my friend and I were compelled to spend the night at Sheikh’s house and he shocked us both by forcing my friend to penetrate me. He had no choice, and neither did I. My friend penetrated me and I felt like dying with shame. It still haunts me even after 17 years. But, we haven’t uttered a word about this out of fear of what Sheikh may do to us through his Jinns.”

In short, Sheikh has not only abused our children but our faith and spirituality too. In fact, he has abused the noble professions of teaching and Imamat too.

At present, the case is pending at Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Sopore. Two witnesses have already deposed against Sheikh, however, the last 5 hearings couldn’t take place. In the meantime, the government has taken a serious note of the issue and I have been promised by the senior officials in the government that they will ensure that justice is delivered at the earliest.


This statement has been written by a survivor of Aijaz Sheikh’s abuse. For more details on the case against Aijaz Sheikh, there is a Facebook page one can follow, wherein this statement was originally published.”

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