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!”