A resident of Wara-Sangam, Budgam, Shameema Bhat, 43, a housewife doesn’t remember the exact date of her torture. But according to her family, it all started in November 1998, when Mushtaq Pal [militant turned government gunman] informed the police that Ashraf Bhat’s family was not only providing shelter to the militants but also hiding arms and ammunition.
The SOG of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and personnel of the Border Security Force, accompanied by four uniformed women police personnel, with the help of local boy [who was told to locate Ashraf Bhat’s house], started marching towards Ashraf Bhat’s house. The entire family, which consisted of Shameema [wife], Ashraf Bhat [Husband], two children named Irshad Ahmad Bhat and Rehana Ahmad Bhat, along with two brothers- in-law, were present in the house. As soon as they saw that the SOG and Border Security Force personnel approaching their house, they ran and took shelter in the neighbouring house.
They took Shameema’s brothers-in-law [who were hiding behind the house] under custody. They were taken to the SOG Camp in Humhama. The next day, a relative named Abdul Aziz of Gotpora, also a police inspector, went to the SOG Camp, and he was told that only if Ashraf Bhat and Shameema show up at the camp would the others be released.
The next day Ashraf Bhat and Shameema Bhat went to the Humhama Camp, accompanied by Abdul Aziz. The Camp was under the control of Gupta of the SOG, and he told the personnel to take the couple inside to torture them. As per the orders, both Ashraf Bhat and Shameema Bhat were taken to a small tin shed. Ashraf Bhat was hanged upside down and was tortured. The SOG personnel asked Shameema to tell her husband to reveal the place where they had hidden arms and ammunition for the militants. Although Ashraf Bhat and Shameema repeatedly said that they were not aware of any such thing, they were still tortured. Finally, Ashraf Bhat and Shameema Bhat mockingly suggested the SOG to provide arms and ammunition, which they could themselves recover later.
Three women personnel, one of them named Rani Khalida, gave continuous electric shocks after every four or five hours. Even though Shameema told the women personnel that she was seven months pregnant, she was still beaten up with a stick especially on her stomach, arms, and legs.
In the evening, Ashraf Bhat was taken to jail and Shameema was left under the custody of women personnel. The condition of Shameema worsened as her vagina started bleeding. The women personnel communicated this to Gupta and Ashiq Bukhari, who was also there. They now turned things around and asked why both husband and wife had been detained there. Ashraf Bhat was brought back and both of them were ordered to be released, as there were no allegations against them. In addition, Gupta offered Rs. 100 to Shameema for her treatment.
The police personnel took them out towards the roadside but no one was ready to offer them a ride till house due to their condition. Finally, the couple, with the help of two Kashmiri women police personnel from Ompura [not involved in torturing the couple], reached their house by a local truck late at night.
The next day, Shameema visited the nearest local hospital where she was suggested to visit Lal Ded hospital, Srinagar. The doctors did not provide any kind of treatment for the next three days. On the fourth day, police from the locality visited the hospital and told the doctors to provide her with the necessary treatment. Shameema was then operated on and the doctors had to abort the child with the help of dilatation and curettage procedure. After being hospitalized for thirteen days, Shameema was told to take bedrest for one month.
The neighbors and the relatives of the Shameema’s family started taking to the streets, demanding justice outside the office of Deputy Commissioner of Budgam.
After the incident, the couple was unable to do any kind of work due to which the couple’s elder son was left with no other option but to quit his studies in order to help his family’s survival and fund his sister’s education.
The tale of torture was narrated by Shameema Bhat on 25 March 2015.