“The person was using every trick in a book to emotionally blackmail me, but I was never interested in him. But he never respected my decision.”
KHAN SAHIB, Budgam – Farooq Hajam’s bothered body language made his despair evidently clear inside a local police station where he was summoned related to his daughter’s case.
A day before sitting sullenly in the cop company, Hajam appeared in a viral video—where he was fighting his apparent anxiety—while his daughter detailed her trysts with the boy shadowing her moves, even to a city hospital where he recently created ruckus.
“Why should I marry him?” Fareeda said in the video. “He’s a loafer, a cheap and an immoral person who knows nothing except harassing women.”
Almost a month before the video surfaced on social media, Hajam’s fears grew ugly on June 28—when his daughter faced daylight harassment in a bustling Budgam bazar. Her harasser was one Imtiyaz Hajam whom she dismissed as a “delusional lover”.
As per the recorded testimony of the girl, the boy groped her forcefully and tried to outrage her modesty. The minute-long torment ended with some physical and mental bruises.
Based on this horrific incident, Fareeda filed an FIR with Khan Sahib Police Station.
“All this underlines the fact that girls belonging to the underprivileged backgrounds are currently beset with multiple problems in the society,” said an elder of the village, who over the years witnessed an organised targeting of poor women in the wake of muscle and money power. “Such cases would’ve made much noise elsewhere, but here the victim is forced to live with mental trauma.”
Following the FIR, Imtiyaz was lodged in the Khan Sahib Police Station for over a fortnight before a district court granted him bail. “Was he granted bail to continue his monstrosity on our daughter?” the girl’s relative told Kashmir Observer.
After being bailed out, Imtiyaz—as per the girl’s family—threatened them with severe consequences, for lodging a police complaint against him.
However, a day after the viral video, this reporter visited Khan Sahib to understand the method behind the madness that evoked sharp and widespread condemnation online. While Imtiyaz was unavailable for comments, Rafeeq Ahmed Shah, Station Head Officer of Khan Sahib Police Station, shared the official version of the case with Kashmir Observer.
“Based on Farooq Hajam’s allegations against Imtiyaz Ahmed, we have restarted an investigation into the case,” SHO Shah made it curt. “We summoned all the involved people to the police station to verify the credibility of the allegations that the girl and her father had raised in a video.”
Before sharing her ordeal on social media, the simmering “one-sided love” story was turning out to be a pestering affair for the girl.
An educated person, Fareeda wasn’t ready for the relationship. But that hardly kept the boy at bay. Fareeda recalled how he would relentlessly buzz her cellphone number only to face her wrath. Yet, Imtiyaz, a native of Khan Sahib, kept behaving like a jilted lover.
With fear still gripping their residence, Fareeda recalled how two years back the boy had come to their house with a marriage proposal which her father had politely refused and asked Imtiyaz to leave.
“For the next few months,Imtiyaz’s absence had been a relief for me,” she said.“But after five months, he restarted harassing me by following me everywhere. The person was using every trick in a book to emotionally blackmail me, but I was never interested in him. But he never respected my decision.”
With time, she said, Imtiyaz’s unrelenting advances would end with the sudden storming of her home—where he would warn her father of “kidnapping Fareeda from her in-laws”, if she was married to someone else.
“He even chased me all the way to a Srinagar hospital lately,” the girl said. “Despite being told to go away, Imtiyaz harassed me and my mother before beating both of us in the crowded hospital.”
At times, she said, he would vent his anger around the Khan Sahib area, going to every household that had sent a marriage proposal to her family. “He was passing only one thing to them: ‘I’ll kill you if you try to marry Fareeda’,” she said.
Surviving in such an abusive and hostile setup has only augmented the fear of the family facing the constant threats and abuse from the bailed-out ‘desperado’.
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