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In the name of faith: How fake faith-healers are targeting our innocent women

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Mushtaq Hurra

Kashmiris, particularly Kashmiri women are extremely innocent and impeccable to fell prey to deception and treachery. From thugs and rouges to fake faith-healers, women have been highly vulnerable and susceptible to the acts of cozenage.
Visiting faith-healers has been an ages old tradition and belief of Kashmiris. Wearing amulets, rubbing incantational soil and water on bodies, is witness to our innocence and faith in these people. Faith healers are respected and honored by people as if they have descended from heavens with divine endowments to serve the mankind. And faith-healers are not confined to any particular religion only but these people are found in almost every religion and society.
Faith-healers are believed to heal people of their pains and diseases. Visiting a true and God-fearing virtuous faith-healer, solaces one’s mind and heart. Such people most often connect people with their Lord through religious talks and advices. They often remind people about the temporary nature of life and the world. They would never demand eatables, gifts, perks or cash from the visitors. Even they would arrange free meals for poor and destitute. And Allah SWT bestows them with power to relieve people off their miseries and agonies.
But some sexual predators and scavengers wear the attire of faith-healers, and leave no stone unturned to exploit and loot the innocents. Some demand heavy amounts, some ask people to prepare Wazwaan cuisines, and some order the needy to visit them in solitude. We know how such vultures molest the innocent girls and women in the name of faith healing.
Gulzar peer, Asa Ram and Baba Ram Rahim are some well known pseudo faith-healers who were running the brothels to exploit the innocent girls and women in the name of faith healing.
Women have been the worst hit victims of these vampires. Though many have been arrested but the stringent and exemplary action was never initiated so others would have been discouraged and reprimanded to resort to such cheap acts.
We have seen how these fake faith-healers have been exploiting innocent women folk. Very recently, a dastardly act of a fake faith-healer tore apart the trust of a mother at Delina Baramulla when he molested her young daughter in the garb of faith healing. The young girl was writhing in pain, her mother called him (the fake faith-healer as he was his neighbor as well) to arrange a vehicle so that she could take her daughter to a nearby hospital.
The devilish beast who happened to be her relative, asked her to send her daughter to him with the promise to relieve her off the pain. But the devil’s brother had some other intentions. When the innocent who was writhing in pain, entered his room, the savage asked her to lay down. It was almost 1 pm and his wife and children were away from the home. His devil woke up and began to molest the innocent who was down on the ground. When the girl understood his intentions, she began to scream loudly. Her mother heard the screams, and went straight away to the house of this wild beast. According to her, the door was closed from inside, she somehow managed to enter the room, and to her utter surprise and shock, the pseudo faith-healer had committed the heinous crime. She took her daughter into her arms, and showed the courage to inform the police and media.
The mother of this unfortunate victim is determined enough to see the culprit behind the bars. She has probably shown unprecedented courage by defying all odds and social stigmas to get the complaint registered in the police station. If the culprit is acquitted like infamous Gulzar Peer then many other girls are sure to fell prey to this cowardice.
I wonder if our collective conscience is alive or not. Why are our intellectuals, Imaams and other important stakeholders silent? We should demand capital punishment for such beasts who plunder the modesty of innocents in the guise of faith-healers. Such devils not only write the hell in their fate but also bring a bad name to virtuous and God-fearing men. Even our religion is sometimes ridiculed when a so-called religious priest resorts to the lowest level of animality. Now, the billion dollar question strikes our minds that where are our daughters safe?
Though women folk are subjected to atrocities and sexual assaults in every society but it is heart rendering when it is in the name of faith and religion. Such dastardly acts have given rise to trust deficit. The incumbent authorities particularly our judiciary should take strong cognizance of the issue, and should bring the culprit to the book.
As responsible men of our society, we must not allow our women to visit any stranger, and any stranger should not be allowed to enter our homes in the name of faith healing. We must discourage our women not to visit these fake faith-healers who would go for every attempt to fulfill their libido. I am not intending to make sectarian rifts in our society but my chief motive is to safeguard the chastity and modesty of our mothers and daughters. May Allah give us courage to call spade a spade.

(The writer is a Teacher, Columnist and a Social activist)

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