Standing in a locked room at the Psychiatry hospital in Srinagar, 11-year-old Zareefa (name changed) sings in a loud tune. She shuffles from half a sentence of one Kasmiri folk song to other as her parents watch her with moist eyes.
The 11-year-old girl is suffering from ‘bipolar mood disorder’ after she was abducted and raped last month by three men in Damhal Hanjipora village in southKashmir.
“She has bipolar mood disorder,” says Dr. Arshad Hussain, a prominent psychiatrist at Srinagar’s Psychiatry hospital. “She is getting better but yet to be stable. She is under severe stress and shock”.
Zareefa, a resident of Damhal was allegedly abducted and raped by three men in his home village. “On March 5, we had sent her to buy vegetables from a nearby village. But when she didn’t return until next day, we started to search for her,” says her father. “After two days, a local woman brought her to us”.
The girl, father says, told them that she was abducted by three villagers with the help of a non-local woman who is married in the village. “She told us that she was raped by three men,” says her father. “When she had asked for water, they had given her alcohol and then raped her”.
Since that day, the 11-year-old is under shock and she has several times tried to commit suicide. “At one time, she tried to kill herself by coming in front of a moving truck,” says her father who along with his wife is staying with her daughter at the locked-up hospital ward.
When the class VII student, says her father, was brought before the police for registration of FIR, she asked the Station House Officer to hand her over his gun. “Give me your gun,” her father says she shouted. “I will kill them all”.
Though the police have arrested three persons including the woman who enticed the girl into her house, the mastermind is still absconding. The main culprit Shabir Ahmad is a former counter insurgent. “We are giving this case a priority,” says SP Kulgam Mumtaz Ahmad. “I am hopeful the fourth accused will also be arrested soon”.
What makes the tragedy of the family more grave is that their son is admitted in a ward adjacent to that of Zareefa.
“He had some psychiatric problems earlier but after this incident, he has gone completely out of control,” says the father. “He only talks about revenge to the rapists of her sister. That is why we have brought him also here”.
The twin tragedy is taking a toll on the poor family’s financial health as well. “I am a labourer and earn hand to mouth,” he says. “I have run out of the money and now I have asked my son to loan out some money from friends”.