April 2016 News

One Held For Assault, Spreading Molestation Rumour In Handwara

19 April 2016
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: The police on Tuesday arrested one of the two youth charging him with assault and spreading rumours about the molestation attempt on the Handwara girl that triggered widespread clashes causing five civilian deaths in north Kashmir's Kupwara district last week. Cops said they arrested Hilal Ahmed Bandey of Handwara during a raid late Monday night. 'The youth is being questioned and a hunt is on to nab the other accused person,' a police officer told TOI, adding that they were acting under the directions of chief judicial magistrate, Handwara. Hilal is a provision store-keeper in his late 20s. 'The girl was produced before the CJM, Handwara, on Saturday, and her statement was recorded. She was accompanied by her father,' the officer said. The girl had denied the allegation made by locals that an Army man had tried to molest her, and instead said it was the local youth who'd assaulted her. Quoting her, the police stated before the CJM, 'On April 12, after school hours, while proceeding to her home with her friend, she entered a public lavatory near main chowk in Handwara... As soon as she came out of the lavatory, she was confronted by two boys and her bag was snatched. One of the boys was in school uniform.' Police registered four FIRs under various sections of RPC for molestation bid, spreading false rumours, as well as against a group of people who set fire to bunkers and vandalized government property. The administration on Tuesday also removed the Army bunker in Handwara; it's picketing by locals had led to firing by the Army in which five people were killed. Authorities used a JCB excavator to raze the picket after chief minister Mehbooba Mufti pledged to do so to prominent citizens of the town last week. MLA Handwara and social welfare minister Sajad Gani Lone assured Handwara residents that more of their demands will be fulfilled. Meanwhile, authorities relaxed curfew for three hours in Handwara town, Kupwara and Trehgam. Army chief, Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, visited Srinagar-based Chinar Corps and was briefed by the Corps Commander, Lt Gen Satish Dua, on the overall security situation and the preparedness of Chinar Corps in dealing with the emerging challenges.