Amnesty International calls for release of teenage girl, relatives

SRINAGAR: Amnesty International has asked the Jammu and Kashmir authorities to immediately release a teenage girl and her father and aunt who are being detained in ‘protective custody’ by the police in Handwara, Kupwara district.

“Pending their release, they must be granted prompt access to their family and lawyers. The girl has been detained since 12 April, and her family members since 13 April,” Amnesty said in a statement.

“A teenage girl who has been allegedly sexually assaulted needs to receive sensitive and respectful treatment from the authorities, and not be herself detained in police custody,” said Zahoor Wani, Campaigner, Amnesty International India.

“If the family needs protection, they should receive it at a location of their choosing.”

Media reports quote a senior state police official as stating that the family had asked for police protection, but the girl’s mother has denied this claim.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which is hearing a petition for the release of the girl and her relatives, has asked the state government to respond to allegations that the three are being illegally detained. The case will next be heard on April 20.

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