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Sexually assaulted by soldier, abused and spat at by police in custody: Handwara girl

The Handwara girl, whose alleged molestation bid sparked violent protests last month, address a press conference along with her parents, in Srinagar on Monday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

The Handwara girl, whose alleged molestation bid sparked violent protests last month, address a press conference along with her parents, in Srinagar on Monday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad  

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The Handwara girl, whose > alleged molestation bid sparked violent protests last month, on Monday claimed she was “sexually assaulted by a soldier” and later “harassed and humiliated” in police custody.

Speaking to reporters here, the 16-year-old, wearing a black veil, went back on her earlier statements, both in the on-video statement and the one recorded before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on April 16, where she had blamed two local boys for creating a scene outside a public convenience in Handwara, 60 km north of Srinagar.

“As I was exiting the toilet [on April 12], a uniformed Army man forcibly held my hand. I screamed and ran away,” claimed the Class 12th student in her fresh disclosure. She has moved an application before the police to lodge an FIR against the unidentified soldier.

Duress alleged

The girl, in her fresh statement, named five police officials including Superintendent of Police, Handwara, Ghulam Jeelani. She accused these officials of “intimidation, harassment and verbal abuse” and claimed her earlier statements were taken “under duress from the police.”

“Mr. Shafi forcibly took signatures on blank papers [from me]. Mr. Mohsin verbally abused me and spat at me. Later [SP] Jeelani sahib recorded my statement with the promise that he won’t make it public.

“Because of the pressure, I recorded my statement without putting any blame on the Army. But how could he [Mr. Jeelani] circulate it? He put my honour and dignity at stake. He did it all to save the Army personnel,” alleged the girl, who was released on May 12 from preventive detention.

The girl, who was accompanied by the father and the mother, has already moved an application before the police to lodge FIR in the circulation of video and her “illegal police detention” for around a month. The police, on the contrary, said she was only taken into “preventive custody.”

Five civilians were killed in the week-long protests in the aftermath of the girl’s alleged molestation bid. Besides the magisterial probe of the civil administration, the Army had announced an internal inquiry. However, both the inquiries are yet to be completed. A youth, who confronted the girl outside the public convenience, has already been arrested for questioning.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:57:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sexually-assaulted-by-soldier-abused-and-spat-at-by-police-in-custody-handwara-girl/article8607256.ece

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