Kashmir houseboat owner says Australian woman’s rape story ‘fabricated’: ‘She went sightseeing, left without paying, never followed up on her false complaint’
She refused medical examination, says lawyer
Srinagar: Mohammad Rafiq Dundoo is distressed for the last two days after he came across the news in which an Australian woman accuses him of kidnapping and raping her for two months during her visit to Kashmir in 2004.
Reported widely by international and Indian media, the story is of an Australian pro surfer Carmen Greentree, who, in her May 2020 book ‘A dangerous Pursuit of Happiness’ has accused Rafiq of raping her in captivity in his houseboat ‘Y H Sunbeam’ for two months.
Rafiq, 46, who had long proven the allegations wrong and tried to regain his respect in the society, is shocked by this new “drama” and a “book promotion gimmick.”
According to him, Carmen, during her Kashmir visit in 2004, went mountaineering, water-trekking, and sight-seeing.
“Besides, she also visited Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Mughal Gardens. If I had kidnapped her, how was she roaming around?” Rafiq told The Kashmir Monitor on Wednesday.
“I don’t understand how can we keep her in captivity for two months when our houseboat is five or 10 feet away from other houseboats, there are other tourists around, it is peak season, and the nearest police station is just a few hundreds metres away,” he said.
Love and vengeance?
According to Rafiq, Carmen went mountaineering with Rafiq’s young Nepali helper Guddu, for “10 days” in “Vaisno Sar” mountains during which she had developed a close affinity to him.
One morning, after the two had come back from mountaineering, Guddu, who used to sleep on the front porch of the houseboat, was missing.
He started looking for Guddu who was nowhere to be found until Rafiq saw him coming out of Carmen’s bedroom.
Rafiq had already sensed that the two had developed some intimacy in the past weeks and now Guddu’s actions were troubling him.
“I saw him coming out of Carmen’s bedroom. My only mistake was that I thrashed him in front of Carmen. I told him if anything happens, he wouldn’t be the one responsible and all the blame would come on me,” Rafiq said.
As per him, his beating Guddu really pinched Carmen, who may have developed a soft spot for the helper.
“In August”, a few days after the incident, (Rafiq doesn’t remember the exact date), “Carmen just vanished without even paying the complete tariff she owed me.”
She had gone to police to file a complaint against Rafiq accusing him of fraud and rape.
Rafiq was shocked as police came and whisked him away.
Documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor show that the FIR (number 121) was registered against Rafiq on August 3, 2004 at Ram Munshi Bagh police station. He was charged with Sections 376 (Rape) and 420 (fraud).
“I was kept in custody at Ram Munshi Bagh for 12 days and then released on temporary bail,” he said.
“I was beaten by people, my family was harassed, humiliated. I was father to a year old son then, and I cannot even express what I had to go through for no fault of mine,” he said.
Guddu, meanwhile, had also fled as soon as Carmen left the houseboat in the first week of August 2004.
‘She refused medical examination’
Rafiq’s lawyer, Bilal Ahmad Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor that Carmen had refused to undergo a medical examination to prove her allegations.
He too claimed that Rafiq beating Guddu was the real issue that miffed her.
“After she lodged a complaint with the police here, she refused to get herself medically examined and went back to Australia. From there she lodged another formal complaint through the Australian embassy,” said Bilal.
However, Carmen, according to him, failed to follow up even after multiple notices to her from the court.
“In 2007, the case was shut as ‘not admitted’ as she didn’t follow up on her complaint,” said Bilal.
Carmen also owed Rafiq around Rs 1 lakh as tariff for her stay which she hasn’t paid until today, he added.
“I told her that if her accusations were proven right, I will ensure Rafiq is punished, but we all knew she was just wrongly blaming him,” he said.
‘How can I force her to read Quran?‘
Rafiq also rubbished Carmen’s claim in her book that she was forced to convert to Islam and read Qur’an.
“Why would I do so? We are serving tourists for generations. We know we represent the whole of Kashmir when we deal with them. Why would I do something that would spoil my whole life?” he said.
Carmen, in her book, has also accused him of taking away her travel documents including her passport.
However, Rafiq trashed it too questioning how she managed to travel back “if her passport was with me”.
Rafiq added that Carmen was being served by the family as a guest and a visitor.
“If she was really sincere and truthful, she would have followed the case and replied to the several notices sent to her,” he said.
Rafiq said the allegations destroyed his image and now after 16 years, this new “drama” has come back to haunt him again.
“She had tarnished my image then and she is doing it again. I plan to file a case against her now,” he said.