Srinagar: The police and army have come under the scanner for releasing the video of a school girl in Handwara, allegedly molested by an army man, as disclosing the identity of a girl compromises her dignity, which is an offence, according to activists. Also, the video is seen as pre-empting three simultaneous inquiries into Tuesday’s incident, protests against which have so far led to four deaths. Three inquiries have been ordered by the government, police and the army.
On Tuesday evening, a video of the girl was circulated on social media and also broadcast on a news channel, which shows her dismissing the charges of molestation against the army soldier. It was apparently released to ‘calm down’ tempers in the Valley. The girl is in police custody. But who released the video, which was captured in police custody?
Inspector General of Police Kashmir SJM Gilani said he has no “idea” who released the video. “We have no idea who shot the video. As of now, we are dealing with a situation, and as and when the situation turns normal we will start investigations,” he said.
But the army said “the media” shot the video inside police station Handwara, yesterday. “We released the video (on Wednesday) with the face of the girl blurred. We are not aware who released the video on Tuesday,” army’s spokesman Col NN Joshi told Kashmir Reader.
Bharti Ali, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Centre for Child Rights, HAQ, said filming the girl and releasing it in public was an ‘offence’ as the ‘dignity of a woman cannot be violated’. “An FIR has to be filed against those who released the video in public domain. The identity of the girl can’t be disclosed. You have to protect her dignity and not compromise it by leaking the video,” said Bharti.
If the video would have been released anywhere else in India, she said, it would have been an issue. “A class 12 student is also covered by the Juvenile Justice Act, which makes it a cognisable offence. Even if she is not a minor, a case has to be filed under the RPC against those who leaked the video,” she added.