Even as the Handwara girl denied being molested or harassed by any security personnel, the police arrested a local youth in the case. He was identified by the 16-year-old girl, who is at the centre of the Valley’s fresh unrest, in a statement.
The Class 12 student told a local court that two boys, one in school uniform, “confronted, assaulted and dragged her” as she came out from a public convenience in the Handwara square, adjacent to an Army picket.
Amid this development, five government employees were suspended in north Kashmir for their role in “whipping up passions.”
Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Rajeev Ranjan, said the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Lolab, would inquire in the government employee’s role in provoking the youth. A report would be submitted in 15 days.
Meanwhile, the Handwara square Army bunker, razed by the protesters and set alight, is being handed over to the Social Forestry and the Tourism departments, Mr. Ranjan said.
Curfew in Handwara town was relaxed up to 12 on Tuesday, while restrictions in Kupwara continued for the eight consecutive day. No major clashes were reported till last reports came in.
Five people were killed since April 12 in north Kashmir following allegations of molestation of the girl by Army men.
The accused was arrested from Handwara last night, official sources said.
A manhunt was launched to arrest the other accused named by the girl in her statement to unravel the entire conspiracy.
Initial investigation indicated that the girl was spurning offers of a relationship from one of the two boys.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara.