Kashmir’s Self-Styled Godman Arrested For Rape Of Young Girls


SRINAGAR – A 42-year-old self-styled Sufi dervish Gulzar Ahmed Bhat was arrested on Wednesday by Jammu and Kashmir police for raping and sexually abusing several young girls at his religious centre, Khansahib in Budgam district.

Gulzar Bhat, who went by the name Syed Gulzar, ran a residential institution for girls which offered short duration courses in religious studies. The self-styled dervish used to promote himself on local TV channels and publish promotional advertisements in local newspapers.

The scandal came to light when one of Gulzar’s disciples, Imtiyaz Ahmad Sofi saw him indulging in a sexual act with a young girl. Police said Gulzar was arrested after four girls recorded their confessional statement before the court of the sub-judge in Budgam on Tuesday.

Police said at his centre with over 500 girl students, the self-styled god-man had been repeatedly exploiting the girls sexually on the pretext of “purifying” them. The charlatan had employed a few women who would motivate the girls to please the godman.

SP Budgam Uttam Chand said that the police were looking for two of his close associates – Abdul Gani Ganaie and Bashir Ahmed Mir. DSP Bashir Ahmad of Khansahib said that a local court on Wednesday remanded Gulzar Ahmed Bhat to police custody for 15 days to investigate the case. He said that medical examination of the victims had confirmed the allegations. “There is ample evidence to prove that the accused is involved in exploiting innocent girls. He is fully involved and there is no doubt about it,” the police officers said.

(File photo of self-styled Sufi dervish Gulzar Ahmed Bhat)

The confessional recording of a victim reveals that Gulzar used to lure girls and women and later on with the help of his cronies assaulted them sexually. A victim from Pampore said that every new entrant was being persuaded and guided by a female employee Shakeela Bano of Lolipora. She claims that after her admission into Gulzar’s religious centre, Shakeela took her in a room and advised her to serve ‘Peer Sahab by heart if she wanted to get rid of her miseries.’

Another victim said: “Noor Mohammad, who served as Gulzar’s Aamir-e-Aala, lured me to the centre. I was asked to enter ‘Hujra-i-Pak’ (Gulzar’s personal chamber). As I entered, Molvi Gulzar ordered me to shut the door. He looked into my eyes and said, ‘Marriage is not important for the propagation of religion. Wherever I will touch you that part of the body will not burn in Hell. Mein noor houn tum aag ho, noor aag say miley ga to poora noor ban jaey ga. Then he looked at me with scary eyes and I lost my conscience, my eyes were watching everything but my body was unconscious when he took me to bed.”

A prominent local cleric Molvi Mohammad Amin said that scores of girls approached his organization World Khatme-Nubuwat Movement. “We were shocked after the girls made startling revelations.” Molvi Amin alleged that Gulzar would “manipulate the verses of holy Quran to motivate the girls into sex.”