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15-yr old rape victim in a Catch-22 situation

If she delivers a child, she faces life threat from co-villagers and if she terminates it, she will anger ulemas, reports Alok Mohit & Khwaja Jamal.
None | By Alok Mohit and Khwaja Jamal, Muzaffarpur
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2007 11:49 PM IST

Fifteen-year old rape victim Sajda (Name changed) is caught in a Catch 22 situation. If she delivers a child, Sajda faces threat to her life from some co-villagers. If she terminates the pregnancy, a result of repeated rape, she would be antagonising the ulemas who have issued a decree against "the sin of abortion".

"I am spending every moment under the shadow of death," a sobbing Sajda told the Hindustan Times on Tuesday. "Ever since I decided to abide by the decree of religious persons, my life has come under threat. My father too approached the Benibad police for protection, but the cops are not taking things seriously. A group of villagers had attacked our house last night and threatened to kill me and my family members," she added.

Sajda, a resident of a hamlet in Benibad block on NH 57, had conceived after being raped repeatedly allegedly by a schoolboy of the same village, Md Munna (name changed).

Sajda’s father, Md Aseer who ekes out livelihood by selling biscuits in countryside, mustered courage to speak against the atrocity meted out to her unmarried daughter and left no house untouched to solicit support.

Unfortunately, a sizeable chunk of villagers preferred to keep mum. Some of them, however, did try to solemnise her marriage with the perpetrator of the crime, but all their efforts in this regard proved to be an exercise in futility.

Munna managed to slip away from the village in order to avoid villagers’ wrath and hands of laws.

Meanwhile, ulemas from Biharsharif rushed to the village. They organised a meeting of the villagers on January 23 and issued decree against 'committing the sin of abortion.'

Her father pleaded with the local Mukhiya to clip the wings of Md Munna and his family members. Sajda has also filed a case in the district court against Munna for raping her. Meanwhile, she has decided to deliver the child and bring the newly born before the court to seek justice.

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