Outrage after police takes girl in video into protective custody

Srinagar: Shock and outrage has gripped the Valley after Jammu and Kashmir Police took the school girl into a “protective” custody after the Indian Army released her video to prove that the molestation charges against its soldiers were motivated in the Handwara township.

The girl has been in the “protective” custody since Tuesday when security forces fired at the protestors after locals alleged that she was molested by the army trooper when she entered into a public washroom. Five people including a woman have been killed in the firing on the protestors at different areas.

“She is in our protective custody. They (family) had asked for protection. Her family members are with her because girl cannot be kept alone,” Uttam Chand, deputy inspector general of police, North Kashmir range, told dna.

However, human rights groups are not convinced and have alleged that the girl has been detained and family has been denied access to meet her.

“The detention of the minor girl and her father are outside the powers of the state and appears to be an attempt to further pressurise the family to withdraw all allegations against the armed forces,” said a spokesman of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).

The spokesman noted that the manner in which the video has been recorded and then circulated is a gross violation of the special protections afforded to minors particularly during investigation of sexual assault cases.

“The action of the police and the army would necessarily invite criminal prosecution if investigated,” he said.

Indian Army on Wednesday released a video in which a school girl is seen apparently giving a clean chit to the soldiers in the molestation case and blaming an unidentified boy for inciting people at Handwara town on Tuesday.

“The State under the garb of law and order is ensuring that all access to the family of the victim is denied so as to ensure protection to the armed forces personnel and seek to further distract from the crimes that have been committed – from the sexual assault to the killings,” he said.

The legal team of JKCCS led by Parvez Imroz were not allowed to meet the girl and asked to reach to the Handwara town. “The team sought to meet the mother of the minor girl and following consultations approach the High Court, Srinagar bench, by the close of the day. Besides consultations on the case, relevant signatures on court documents needed to be taken,” said the spokesman

Meanwhile, a delegation of main opposition National Conference too was not allowed to visit Handwara town.

with agencies