Handwara girl says soldier molested her

Accuses SP Handwara Ghulam Jeelani of filming the video in police station and cops of forcing her into making statement exonerating army

srinagar: The Handwara girl, whose alleged molestation led to a series of protests in which five people were shot dead by the government forces, said on Monday that police forced her into accusing two local boys of molestation to save the “real culprit”, a soldier.
The girl was in police custody for nearly a month until court asked her parents to write on affidavit that she didn’t need security. But before the parents could submit the affidavit, policemen guarding her were withdrawn.
In her first public appearance after the police cover was withdrawn, at the office of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, which has provided her legal aid, she said that on April 12 the soldier grabbed her by her hand outside the public washroom constructed by the army in Handwara town.
She had gone to the washroom, she said, because school bathrooms were closed and a shop where she had left and her brother’s mobile phones was nearby. Students are not allowed to carry mobile phones inside the school premises.
“I wept when the soldier grabbed my hand. When the youth from my neighbourhood saw it, one of them slapped me. I did not say anything,” said the girl who was flanked by her father and mother, both of whom broke down during the presser.
At police station Handwara, she said, sub-inspector Mohsin abused and spit at her.
“The munshi asked me my name but I refused. They snatched my school bag to see my name. But they did not tell me why they brought me to the police station,” she said. A constable, Mohammad Shafi, brought her to the station from the Handwara chowk.
That night, she said, two masked policemen told her not to talk about what actually happened because “that would endanger her and her family’s lives”.
She said Handwara superintendent of police Ghulam Jeelani recorded her statement with his mobile phone and assured it will not be shared with anyone.
“Kya Jeelani ke ghar mein beti nai hain? He shot the video to absolve army. Jeelani ne mere izzat daaw pe kaise lagaye?” she said.
According to the girl, police did not let her call her parents and instead called her father and aunt at midnight.
“During the night they made me sign on blank papers. They forced me to write that I need police protection. When I couldn’t write they tutored me how to write on blank papers and extracted statements from me, my father and aunt on papers,” she said, adding she spent three-days in the police station.
The trio was shifted to a police official’s home in Sehlal hamlet in Handwara where they spent three more days.
“Before being taken to chief judicial magistrate to record my statement, a molvi sahib Mohammad Shafi taught me what to say there. My statement was recorded before the judge who asked me the same set of questions for which I was tutored by police and molvi sahib,” she said.
“I was again taken to the police station where munshi (police official) told me ‘your mother has said something, tell her to keep quiet,’” she said, referring to the statement her mother had made before reporters at the JKCCS office.
The girl said had her mother not raised voice against police, she might have been killed along with her father and aunt.
She was then shifted to maternal uncle’s home where they stayed for two-days.
“Policemen threatened us that people will burn the house. I called Inspector general of police but he disconnected the line and later refused to take my calls. The police party led by deputy superintendent Baljeet Singh snatched my phone.
Then I called Nayeema Mehjoor and narrated the entire story to her but she sided with police instead of supporting me,” she said.
The girl said she will seek justice for “her brothers who laid their lives for her honour”.
JKCCS Coordinator Khuram Parvez said a case will be filed against army and police. He also said a section of media showed insensitivity by broadcasting the girl’s video without blurring her face.