A widespread protest has broken out in Kashmir against the alleged rape of a three-year-old girl child, in Sumbal area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district on May 9.
People, demanding death penalty for the accused, came out on the streets over the week. They are asking the authorities to investigate the case on a fast-track basis.
According to the complaint filed by the child’s family, the three-year-old was allegedly abducted by the perpetrator, Tahir Ahmad Mir, and taken to a nearby school and raped. The incident happened when the child had gone to buy chewing gum with his uncle to a local shop. After buying gum, her uncle went to offer prayers and asked the girl-child to go home on her own.
The perpetrator was caught red-handed and was immediately arrested by the police, Rahul Malik, superintendent of police, Bandipora, told the media.
Soon after the incident, rumours were doing the rounds that the accused is a minor. A handwritten birth certificate, apparently issued by the school, was circulated in the social media. However, the police said that they have enquired about the age of the perpetrator, and the boy’s family is yet to provide a genuine birth certificate.
As per a preliminary medical examination, the accused is not a juvenile. The doctors say that he is about 20 years of age. “We are treating the accused as a major and not as a juvenile,” a senior police official told PTI.
Following the incident, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted to look into the alleged rape of the three-year-old.
On Monday, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Bandipora Raja Mohammad Tasleem ordered the SIT to submit the investigation report along with case dairy on Tuesday, reported Greater Kashmir.
“The SIT shall also send a member of the investigation team who is well acquainted with the matter and shall apprise this court with regard to the matter in question,” stated the order issued by the CJM.
Clashes And Protest
A complete shutdown was observed across the valley on Monday. The protest was called by Jammu and Kashmir Ittehadul Muslimeen, a party headed by separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Tensions are simmering in the Muslims community, as the victim and the perpetrator belong to different sects. Fears of sectarian tensions grew stronger after fake picture and videos of the girl child started circulating across social media platforms.
According to the Baramulla police, at least 47 security personnel were injured during a violent clash between protesters and security forces, on the National Highway in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday. Seven people among the protesters were also injured.
As of Tuesday, at least 60 people, mostly from security forces, were injured in the violent clashes across the valley, according to The Greater Kashmir.
Meanwhile, call for peace and unity has been raised by various leaders of political parties and religious sects.
A statement issued by the office of Jammu and Kashmir Governer Satya Pal Malik said, “Governor has also talked to religious leaders of different communities and asked them to deplore this gruesome incident unanimously and make an appeal to the people to remain calm and not let antisocial elements disturb peace and harmony in the society.”
This is not the first instance of rape reported in the valley in recent past. Last year, the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu’s Kathua district led to an uproar in the valley.
Talking to Scroll.in, a social worker and a gender rights activist Essar Batool said, “These incidents are shocking people into speaking as opposed to shocking them into silence … Social media and online news portals have made it impossible for such things to be brushed under the carpet anymore. Even though the conversations around sexual violence are still problematic but it’s a start.”
A protester, speaking to the Rising Kashmir said that rape of the 8-year-old Kathua girl was an example of how justice is denied. “Now we are again demanding capital punishment for the accused, otherwise, such things will be repeated.”
Also Read: Kathua Rape Case: SC Issues Notice Regarding The Lawyers’ Conduct; Says Deliverance Of Justice Cannot Be Obstructed
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