Handwara protests: Schoolgirl, who alleged molestation, kept in Jammu and Kashmir police custody
The schoolgirl's alleged molestation by soldiers led to violent protests and subsequently to deaths of four people in firing by security forces.
Handwara: The Jammu and Kashmir Police is not allowing a man and his daughter, whose alleged molestation by soldiers led to violent protests and subsequently to deaths of four people in firing by security forces, to go home.
According to reports, the family of the girl has appealed for immediate release of the girl and her father, and has sought legal assistance.
News channel NDTV has quoted senior police officer Uttam Chand as saying that the father-daughter duo are in "protective custody".
"The girl and her father are in protective custody because they have asked for police protection," says Chand.
However, a rights group in Kashmir on Thursday accused security forces of virtual "abduction" of the father of the girl.
"The family of the girl states that she has been kept in police custody from 12 April to date. Last night (Wednesday), around 1 am, the father of the victim was called to the Handwara police station. He was accompanied by his brother. Since then his whereabouts are not known. The family has been denied access to both the minor girl and her father," the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society (JKCS) said in a statement.
The Kashmir Valley has been on boil since the killings took place while Hurriyat leaders have called for a shutdown. Restrictions were imposed in many parts of the Valley to curb protests.
The violent protests in Kashmir began over reports that a Kashmiri teenager was allegedly molested by an Army man in a public loo. However, the Army has denied that any of its soldiers was involved.
An online video, circulated by the Army, showed a hijab-clad girl saying she was slapped by a Kashmiri man as she came out of the public loo in Handwara on Tuesday afternoon.
She said the man abused her as she wondered what he was talking about. By this time, another man joined in and they wanted to take her to a police station and kept asking who was with her in the washroom, she said in the 1.16-minute clip.
"They checked in and there was nobody. I insisted I will go with a policeman who was standing nearby," the girl, in a school uniform, says in the video, apparently recorded on a cellphone. She alleges that a large group gathered and began shouting slogans.
The Army circulated the video but said it didn't know who captured it.
The civilian killings triggered widespread protests on Wednesday even as the authorities imposed strict restrictions in parts of the Valley.