Rape victim’s father warns of self-immolation
TALOQAN (Pajhwok): The father of a rape victim on Saturday threatened with setting himself and his children on fire if the rapists were not awarded harsh punishment.
Nooruddin, who had gone to neighbouring Iran in search of a livelihood, returned home in the Rustaq district of Takhar province after receiving news of his daughter’s rape.
Much to his chagrin, the poor man was jailed after homecoming on the charge of killing two of his co-villagers. He is currently under investigation in the district jail.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News inside the mud prison, he said: “I want the rapists hanged. Otherwise I’ll commit self-immolation and sprinkle all six family members, including my wife, with petrol and set them on fire.”
Initially prison guards did not permit this scribe to interview the man, but later the inmate was allowed to speak outside his dingy cell.
“I was in Iran when I received the shocking news that my 3-year-old daughter Nilofar has been raped. I don’t know how I managed to reach my native district,” he said in a palpably choked voice.
Nooruddin lamented: “My daughter was operated upon carelessly after the harrowing experience she had. I had to take her to Kabul for proper medical treatment. On my return to Rustaq, I was detained on murder charges.”
Distraught and vindictive, as he was, the inmate commented: “I’m grey-haired, but never heard of such a heart-rending episode. Helpless and poor, I have no one to listen to my complaints.”
Unsure of the outrageous act being seriously investigated, he did not expect the authorities to hang the rapists. If the government does not want to punish them, he said: “I should be freed to settle scores with them.”
Should the perpetrators go free, Nooruddin warned: “I’ll take all my children to Kabul and torch them in full public glare. In my village, I’m left with no honour.”
Sahila, Nilofar’s mother, has moved to her brother’s house. She told Pajhwok over the telephone: “Although the rapists are behind bars, I’m not certain they will be brought to justice. We are poor; no one listens to us.”
She went on to accuse local authorities of jailing her spouse on trumped-up murder charges, saying that Nooruddin was in Kabul in connection with Nilofar’s treatment at the time of the double murder in the village.
Sahila also appeared to be quite pessimistic about the rapists being dealt with sternly. “We don’t want to live any longer if the culprits are not executed. We are going to commit self-immolation.”
Abdul Manaf Faizi, the district’s administrative head, said the three-years-old was disgraced on Nov. 12. Three accused -- Azizullah, Najibullah and Bismillah -- have been detained in connection with the offence.
Azizullah, the main accused, would be brought to justice once the incident was thoroughly probed, the official hoped. He explained Nooruddin had been nabbed on the basis of a complaint from relatives of the two men killed recently.
Director of Women’s Affairs Razam Ara Hawayesh said Nilofar had undergone two operations in Kabul. Now that the child has recovered, she has returned home.
She said a defence lawyer had been hired to plead Nilofar’s case. “We will properly probe this episode to ensure justice is done. We are in contact with the lawyer...”
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