Even as a team of doctors at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Medical College has ruled out penetrative sexual assault on a three-and-a-half year old girl of northern Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and the Police insist that there were no flaws in the charge sheet of rape filed against an accused last week.
Police Station Sumbal in Bandipora district had filed the FIR under different provisions of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act after the residents created mayhem, alleging that a 20-year-old man of Tregam village had raped a toddler in his neighbourhood on Wednesday, 8 May. The accused was arrested amid Valley-wide protests.
The Quint had, on 22 May, exclusively reported that the investigation into the alleged incident of the rape of a female toddler was in its final stage as the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Police had established the crime and the challan could be filed in a trial court in the next few days. On Saturday, 25 May, Police filed the challan against the accused, Tahir Ahmad Mir.
Quoting sources privy to the investigation, The Quint had reported that the services of the FSL had been employed after the SIT noticed “certain gaps” in the medical report prepared by a team of doctors.
Days after, when this matter came up for its first hearing in the trial court, unknown persons leaked the SKIMS Medical College report which went viral on social media.
It certified that no evidence of rape had been noticed or obtained from the child’s body or belongings.
What The Report Says
In its report dated 16 May, submitted to the investigation officer, the authorities in SKIMS medical college Bamina have stated that there were no marks of injury on any part of the child’s body, including on her private parts.
“The actual source of bleeding could not be determined as there was no evidence of any injury around the vaginal orifice. Also the blood stains were not Dry Blood but faint stains only and could not be scraped and sent for examination.”SKIMS medical report
“There was no evidence of any trauma, injury, tear or bleeding at or around the vaginal orifice or anal opening. Maculo papular rash can arise due to multitude of reasons,” it added.
“It is very difficult to cause full penetration into the vagina without causing any major injury/tear/bleeding in a 3-year-old child. As per the detailed examination of the child there were no marks of injury on any part of the body including the private parts (vagina/anus). There was no active bleeding from vagina or anus, the mere presence of faint blood stains and a maculo papular rash on buttocks is not sufficient evidence to confirm that the child has been sexually assaulted,” concluded the medical report.
In violation of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court directions, many of the social media news portals, Facebook pages, Twitter handles and WhatsApp groups carried the report with the name of the alleged victim.
FSL’s ‘Fool-proof Case’
FSL and Bandipora Police officials, who insisted on anonymity, maintained that a “fool-proof case” had been established against the accused. They refused to share details of the FSL report but pointed out that different kinds of sexual assaults, including non-penetrative sexual assaults, were clearly mentioned as “rape” in the POCSO Act.
“Rape is not only an aggravated penetrative sexual assault as per the POCSO and other recent laws. Only those who are not aware of its legal definitions are reporting that the rape in this case had not been confirmed,” said an official. Officials in FSL maintained that their report was subject to any forensic analysis and judicial scrutiny.
“We have incontrovertible evidences of rape and the Police has accordingly filed its chargesheet.”FSL scientist
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh maintained that after submission of the challan, it was all sub judice and a matter between the court, the prosecution and the defence. He said it would be “inappropriate” for the Police to make any statement or react to the reports in social media.
Meanwhile, the J&K High Court on Tuesday, 28 May, directed the Director of SKIMS to explain how the medical report of the Bandipora rape victim had been leaked to social media.
High Court Proceedings
The court was informed by the petitioner counsel Shafqat Nazir that SKIMS medical report of the victim child had been leaked on social media sites, which shouldn’t have happened. He pointed out that even the name and privacy of the child had been violated in flagrant violation of the court’s previous directions. He asserted that the social media operators had themselves inferred that the crime had not taken place.
Faisal Qadri, the counsel appearing for Facebook, informed the court that the social networking platform was unable to remove Unique Resource Locators (URLs) as their addresses were not traceable. “Until the URLs are mentioned in the court order, we are unable to remove these posts,” he submitted. He stressed that the URLs and addresses have to be mentioned in the order.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar directed the Director of SKIMS to explain the exposure of the medical report on social media by the next date of hearing.
The court further directed Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, to ensure the removal of all posters of the child pasted on vehicles and elsewhere, with a further direction to the Information Department to give wide publicity to POCSO Act, Section 44.
Additional Advocate General (AAG) BA Dar informed the court that the chargesheet had been filed against the accused in the competent court of law and the victim child has been granted compensation by the state Legal Services Authority.