August 2018 News

Sikhs Seek Action In 'abduction' Case

2 August 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Chattisinghpora: The mysterious 'abduction' of two minor girls from the Sikh village of Chattisinghpora in south Kashmir's Anantnag district has drowned its residents in fear about security. The two girls - neighbours and students of Class X - were on their way to school on Tuesday when they were abducted, their families said. On Thursday morning, Sikh community members from Chattisinghpora and other villages of the district assembled at a gurdwara in Mattan township where they held a meeting with district administration officials, including the Deputy Commissioner, and the Senior Superintendent of Police, who assured them that the case would be properly investigated. The police have already registered a case of abduction and also conducted the medical examination of the two girls which found the girls were not injured or assaulted. A police officer in the district said it appeared to be a 'blind case' but all possibilities were being probed. 'We will investigate all angles of the case,' the officer said. Giani Rajinder Singh, a village elder, said the incident had terrified the Sikh community. 'We want the culprits to be identified and arrested. We want to know who did it and why it was done,' he said. The terrified families of the two girls claimed that they had boarded a cab to their school but the driver sprayed something on their face which made them unconscious. 'The driver locked the cab and sprayed something, he had told them it was a (room) freshener and after that the two girls became unconscious,' a cousin of one of the girls said. When the two minor girls regained their consciousness, almost five to six hours after leaving the home, they found themselves lying on a footpath in Srinagar, according to their family members. 'The girls then borrowed a phone from a vendor and one of them called her father who then went to Srinagar and brought them home,' the relatives said. The relative of one of the girls said she had not been able to sleep properly after the incident. 'She is very scared and is reluctant to go back to school,' the relative said. The quiet village of Chattisinghpora, part of the rural landscape of south Kashmir's Anantnag district, is home to 100-odd families of the Sikh community. The incident has terrified the residents of Chattisinghpora and its adjoining villages. Chattisinghpora has had a bloodied past as suspected militants massacred 35 Sikhs from the village in 2000 when the then US president Bill Clinton was on a visit to New Delhi. The latest incident of abduction has now opened the wounds of the past and Sikhs of this village are scared and demanding immediate action in the matter. Karan Singh, a resident of nearby Ranbirpora village, said the incident should be thoroughly probed and the 'culprits should be unmasked'. 'We have stayed in Kashmir all these years in communal harmony, but now somebody is forcing us to migrate,' he said.