Srinagar: Former Australian pro surfer Carmen Greentree was held captive and allegedly raped repeatedly by a houseboat owner in Jammu and Kashmir when she arrived in the country in 2004, she has said in a new book that details her ordeal.
Greentree was 22 when she traveled to India to meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala. But upon arrival in New Delhi she fell victim to scammers who posed as government tourism operators, she told the Daily Mail Australia while talking about her book, A Dangerous Pursuit of Happiness.
The surfer was conned into taking a flight to Srinagar, where her alleged rapist, Rafiq Ahmad Dundoo, received her and then held her captive for two months on his houseboat. He took away her passport and belongings, and repeatedly raped her too, she claimed.
Dundoo’s family, including his wife, parents, brother and children, lived on the same boat, but didn’t help Greentree, she alleged.
After she was rescued, Dundoo and his brother, Shabir Ahmad Dundoo, were arrested. They spent six months in jail but were never convicted as Greentree didn’t return to testify against them. ThePrint couldn’t independently verify this claim.
The revelations by Greentree, who now works in holistic medicine, come 16 years after the case was first reported. At the time, her identity hadn’t been revealed.
However, there seem to be certain inconsistencies in the sequence of events as reported in 2004.
‘Worst feeling was when I gave in’
After failing to make it to the Women’s World Championship Tour in 2003, Greentree, who was then Carmen Buecher, “took a break to travel and explore spirituality”, she told Daily Mail.
Upon her arrival in Delhi, she was scammed into taking a flight to Srinagar. In the J&K capital, her alleged rapist Rafiq Ahmad Dundoo picked her up at the airport and told her that it was too dangerous to be outside alone as a woman and she needed to stay with him.
Dundoo told her that she would be spending the night on a houseboat, named YH Sunbeam, in Dal Lake before getting on a bus to Dharamshala. Instead, Dundoo forced himself on her and took away her passport and money.
“The worst feeling was when I gave in and let him take what he wanted. That was the first time he raped me. I was too tired, I couldn’t fight anymore, and I knew he wasn’t going to stop,” she told Daily Mail.
According to her, she thought once she was raped, Dundoo would let her go. But he raped her every night for the next two months and even beat her whenever she asked to leave.
“I lost track of how many times he raped me. I’ve blocked it out so much I don’t remember most of [the assaults] anymore,” she said.
She alleged that Dundoo withdrew all her money from her account and forced her to make calls to her family to send more money using a phone on the houseboat.
Greentree also told Daily Mail that Dundoo’s family didn’t help her escape, and she was forced to wear traditional Kashmiri attire and pray five times a day. She was even made to read the Quran.
The rescue and her diary
Talking about her release, Carmen Greentree said she could be rescued only when a close friend of hers had a dream about the surfer being in trouble.
The friend then convinced the Australian High Commission in Delhi to look into the matter and the local police was finally looped in, said Greentree.
The police first rescued her and then later went to the houseboat again to retrieve her documents and passport, she said. Dundoo and his brother were subsequently arrested.
According to her, she had maintained a diary during her captivity, but shredded it when she learnt from her friend that she would be rescued.
Discrepancies in details
There appear to be certain inconsistencies about the incident in reports that were published in 2004.
According to a Rediff report, Anand Jain, Superintendent of Police, Srinagar East Zone, said, “After her arrival here, the Australian lady decided to stay in Kashmir for one month, as she was planning to visit Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh to meet the Dalai Lama.”
Further, reports in Australian-based The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age had said at the time that Greentree managed to escape the boat and fled to Delhi where she met officials of the Australian High Commission.
The state police inspector-general K. Rajindra was quoted by the Herald as saying, “In the capital, the woman complained to the Australian High Commission, which took up her case with the federal government. Jammu-Kashmir state police began investigating the crime earlier this week after it received the Australian High Commission’s complaint.”
ThePrint reached Rajindra for a comment Tuesday evening but he wasn’t available.
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