Army denies any role in filming Handwara girl’s video

Army denies any role in filming Handwara girl’s video

JKCCS demands action army for admitting to circulating the minor girl’s clip shot inside police station

Srinagar: Army on Tuesday denied any role in creation of the video showing a minor girl exonerating its personnel of the charges of molestation bid at Handwara, an incident that led to Valley-wide outrage and killing of five people at the hands of army and police last month.
In a reply affidavit submitted before the J&K high court, Major KS Suresh (Adjutant) of 21 Rashtriya Rifles battalion also submitted that the video released by army’s PRO was already doing rounds on various social media sites.
“Army in no way was even remotely concerned with the recording of the video. As a matter of caution, when the video was released by the PRO, the face of the girl was obscured to prevent the disclosure of identity of the girl,” Suresh said, claiming that “nothing has been done with malice”.
He said army had no role in girl’s detention, nor was it involved in her molestation.
“A rumour was spread by anti-national elements which led to the attack on the three army posts located in Handwara town and setting on fire one of the posts,” he said.
The army filed the reply affidavit in compliance to a petition filed by girl’s mother, claiming the video, released by army’s spokesman Col N N Joshi, was recorded at the Handwara police station presumably on the direction of the superintendent of police and the SHO.
“The police and army have already displayed ‘mala fide’ in the case. The video and its circulation is against known criminal procedures, violates the privacy and rights of the girl,” Advocate Pervaiz Imroz, representing the girl, told the court in the first hearing, following which the court sought a reply from police and army.
The police have maintained silence about the creation and circulation of the video. While police filed 30 FIRs, 28 against people, in connection with Handwara and Kupwara incidents, none has been registered regarding the circulation of the video.
According to a civil society group, JKCCS, the army has ultimately passed the blame to either the state government or the police.
“Only investigations will ascertain the role of the army in the creation and circulation of the video and this is precisely what the minor girl and family have prayed for before the High Court,” said a spokesman of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society.
He said the circulation of an “unlawful recording” would also warrant legal action and the army has admitted to having circulated the video.
“This admission should lead to legal action. Therefore, if not for the creation of the video – which needs to be investigated – the army must necessarily be held accountable for the circulation of this illegal video. Also, the army on one hand relies on the video for absolving itself from the accusation of molestation and at the same time seeks to distance itself from it,” the spokesman said.
The record, he said, clearly reflects the “malice” with which the army and police have treated the minor girl.
“The very act of circulating a video of a minor girl within hours of her detention by the police, with no sensitivity to either the girl or the fact that the video itself is unlawful, is a clear demonstration of the intent of the army, that is, to defame the girl at all costs,” he said.