Handwara ‘molestation’: Girl says she denied assault under police pressure, wants FIR against SP, Armyman

In a video-recorded "statement" released by police later, the girl had said no soldier was involved in any molestation and had blamed a local boy for misbehaving with her.

Written by Basharaat Masood | Srinagar | Updated: May 17, 2016 7:41 am
handwara, jammu and kashmir, J&K Handwara, handwara killing, handwara molestation, handwara killing probe, handwara probe, handwara firing, kupwara district, J&K, girl molestation, india news Handwara town and adjoining areas of Kupwara district of Kashmir had erupted last month after allegations that a 16-year-old girl had been molested by an army man.

The 16-year-old girl whose alleged molestation by an Armyman had sparked violence in Handwara, leading to the death of five civilians in police and Army firing, on Monday demanded the registration of a case against the accused soldier as well as the Handwara Superintendent of Police.

Last month, the girl had deposed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Handwara, that was she not molested by an Armyman, but rather by two boys, including one in school uniform. On Monday, however, the girl said she had been pressured by the police to make such a statement.

The alleged molestation took place on April 12, following which a video was made public which showed the girl purportedly telling the police that she had not been molested by an Armyman. However, Monday’s press conference, organised by the J-K Coalition of Civil Society in Srinagar, she said the SP had made the video by “deceiving” her.

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Recalling the alleged molestation, she said, “I had gone to a public washroom. When I was coming out, a soldier came and held my hand… I freed my hand and ran out, weeping.”

The girl said she has written to the Handwara SHO to register an FIR against the soldier. “The Army soldier, whom I don’t know, must be punished for his actions of sexual assault,” she wrote. “I request that an FIR be filed against him.”

The girl said she met a neighbour outside the washroom, who asked her what had happened. “But I was silent. He even slapped me, asking me what had happened. But I only told him I have to go home,” she said.

She said the police abused and intimidated her inside the police station and that the SP recorded her video by “deception”. She sought registration of a case against him for “recording and circulating” the video.

“I was taken into a room (inside the police station). There were three policemen there. Their faces were covered. They asked me what happened. I narrated the whole incident,” she said. “They told me that I should not say this to anyone because it would put my life and my family’s life in danger. When I asked them why I should lie, one of them slapped me and said, ‘Don’t you understand? You should say what we tell you. That will save you and your family’.”

The girl said SP Ghulam Jeelani then entered the room. “He asked me what had happened. I told him what the three policemen had told me to say,” she said. “He went out of the room and returned a little later. He told me, ‘I will record this on a mobile’. I touched his feet and asked him not to share it with the media or anyone else. He recorded it by deception.”

The girl said the police abused her and forced her to sign blank papers. She said one of the officers also spat on her, while another told her: “Do you have any idea how much blood has been shed because of you?”

She said she filed her statement under duress and that she was also forced to file an application seeking police protection.

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