Srinagar: The arrest of a self-styled godman on charges of sexual exploitation of young girls in Kashmir has exposed a sordid tale of his victims being lured into a web of deceit at his shady `seminary` with the help of a dozen male and female employees.
Gulzar Ahmad Bhat was arrested by police on May 21 after four minor girl students of his seminary accused him of sexual exploitation at the institute in Khansahib area of Budgam district.
The questioning of Bhat is going on and efforts are on to nab his accomplices, police sources said on Friday, adding it is suspected that many more girls could have become his victims over the past 10 years.
Quoting the statements of the girls, the sources said the fake godman would systematically lure girls into the trap on the pretext of purifying their soul and used to cast a spell before allegedly carrying out sexual acts with them.
One of the victims, a 16-year-old hailing from south Kashmir, alleged that she was raped by Bhat after she completed the two-month course at the institute.
"After 25 days of the completion of two month course, I was called by Bhat to his room "hujra-i-pak" (the purified room) through one of his woman accomplices. When I entered the room, he started to recite something and I was numbed. I could see everything but was unable to do anything as I had lost control over my body," the victim told police.
The sources said the fake godman used to take a pledge from the girls to keep the happenings inside the room a secret.
"He used to take a pledge from us not to speak to anyone about what happened inside the room. He used to say that we are one and this is the real guidance," another victim said.
The godman, who was one of prominent faces of a new Sufi movement in Kashmir, would tell the victims that whichever part of body of the girl he would touch, would not burn in hell fire.
The victim said Bhat tried to convince her that she was married to him spiritually.