Denying access aimed at prolonging victim’s detention: Lawyer’s team

SRINAGAR: Lawyer’s team on Friday said government’s decision of disallowing its team to visit the family of the girl who had alleged sexual assault by armed forces was aimed at “prolonging the illegal detention of the girl, her father, and her aunt”.

The girl, her aunt, and her father are under police custody since April 12 and April 14 respectively. The mother demands immediate release of all and has expressed fears that her family members, particularly her 16-year-old daughter, are under pressure to make false statements. She also seeks legal investigation into the case.

A Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) spokesperson, in a statement issued here, said a team led by Advocate Parvez Imroz reached the outskirts of Handwara town on Friday morning and sought to meet the mother of the minor girl.

“A police team headed by SHO, Kralgund refused to allow the team beyond Ganapora village. State authorities when contacted by telephone refused to facilitate in the instant case and asked the team to contact other authorities. DIG, north Kashmir Range, Uttam Chand, said no exception could be made and denied access to the girl’s house for meeting her mother,” he said.

He said the team then contacted IGP Kashmir, Javed Mujtaba Geelani who asked them to contact the Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara for permission. “Police has no power to allow access,” the spokesperson quoted IGP as having said.

After this, the spokesperson said, JKCCS contacted the minister of law, Abdul Haq Khan, who is presently the incharge minister deputed by the government in Kupwara district to deal with the present situation.
“The minister expressed his inability to interfere in the law and order tasks of the police and civil administration. He said government’s priority at this stage is restoration of the law,” he said.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara didn’t receive the numerous phone calls made, he added.
The JKCCS spokesperson said government by denying access to the team has, once again, prioritised “its need for control on the people over fundamental and human rights”.

“The Jammu and Kashmir government through its conduct in Handwara killings and sexual violence allegation has already exposed itself and reaffirmed its priority of control over civil liberties and law. It is clear that a change in government does not change the state of affairs on ground in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said

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