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Jammu & Kashmir: 3 Indian soldiers arrested for child molestation

18th Feb 2021
Jammu & Kashmir: 3 Indian soldiers arrested for child molestation

By Nusrat Sidiq

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) – Three Indian army employees were arrested by the regional police of Indian-administered Kashmir in connection with the alleged molestation and kidnapping of a young girl from North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, authorities said Wednesday.

Rahul Malik, senior superintendent of Bandipora Police, confirmed the arrests to Anadolu Agency and said authorities are investigating.

He said the matter is “sensitive” and the allegations are wild but they would not disclose the identities of the suspects.

“We are probing the matter, we cannot disclose anything at this stage,” he said.

Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote Wednesday on Twitter that the suspects who tried to lure a 9-year-old girl with a 500 Indian rupee note ($7) have not been charged under section 354 dealing with molestation.

Under the First Information Report (FIR), police booked the suspects under the Indian Penal Code for 341 (wrongful restraint) 363 (kidnapping) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offense) but not under section 354 (molestation).

“Prima Facie it seems that the FIR is only a charade to sweep this incident under the carpet,” she wrote.

In another tweet, Mufti wrote that the family of the girl is now being pressurised to withdraw the FIR. “Its a complete travesty of justice & an impartial probe must be set up immediately so that they are given the harshest punishment.”

Horrible incident

The victim’s family said when the child was returning home Feb. 10 from private lessons, a Maruti alto car stopped and one of the suspects tried to lure her with money.

“When my daughter refused to take it, one of the army men got down from the car and grabbed her arm,” the girl’s father, Abdul Majeed, told Anadolu Agency.

Majeed, a small cattle trader, said it was his daughter’s screams that saved her and caught the attention of residents.

“When I arrived at the scene, a large crowd had gathered. There were four persons in the car, including a Sikh and a Kashmiri and upon searching their car, three different number plates of three districts were found,” said Majeed.

He said the suspects initially denied that they were working for the army but later admitted to the fact.

Traumatized

The victim has not been able to leave her home and often looks worried since the attack.

“She is frightened. She remembers how a bald man came out of the car and grabbed her arm,” said Majeed. “She is fearful of resuming her tuition classes. I don’t know what to do.”

The distraught father said that the attack has shattered his entire family.

“My other two children reading in class 9 have also become fearful due to the incident. As a father I want to give my children the best education but not at the cost of their life and dignity,” he said.

It is the second incident in North Kashmir where army personnel have been accused of molestation.

A soldier was arrested Dec. 2 by Jammu and Kashmir police for molesting a 36-year-old woman in the frontier region of Uri.

[Map of Jammu and Kashmir by Soumya/Creative Commons]

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