April 2016 News

Handwara Girl Feeling Unsafe: Kashmir Women's Panel Chief

21 April 2016
Governance Now


Srinagar: The school-going girl from Handwara, a small town in north Kashmir, whose interaction with local youth had triggered violence resulting in killing of two persons, is feeling 'unsafe and mentally disturbed', said Nayeema Mehjoor, chairperson, Jammu and Kashmir state women's commission. Speaking to a local news agency CNS, Mehjoor said that the girl and other members of her family had been putting up with their relatives. They fear that in case they go home, militants might harm them. Mehjoor, a former BBC journalist, also nailed the lies of the anti-India lobbies in Kashmir who have been alleging that the girl was in police custody. 'One of two policemen are guarding her to give her a sense of safety,' she said and added: 'She is feeling unsafe and mentally disturbed.' The SWC chief, who claimed to have spoken to the girl, said, 'She is quite exhausted and disturbed. Even her family members are feeling insecure about their and other children's safety and that is the reason they have been putting up with their relatives.' The teenaged girl has in fact become the latest prop in the hands of anti-Indian forces in Kashmir. Initially the girl was thought of having been molested by army men posted in the town, located in the route of infiltrating terrorists from Pakistan. However, later the girl admitted before a judicial magistrate that she had protested against the harassment by two local youth and a shopkeeper and that the army was not involved, at all. The social media and propaganda mills were abuzz with the 'betrayal' by the Handwara girl after she deposed before a magistrate and stuck to her version that no army man had even spoken to her. Till then, it was being said that since local youth had objected to her alleged manhandling in full public view, the protests had taken erupted, leading the army to open fire killing two persons. The police had indeed been insensitive in leaking the video in which the girl states [probably inside a police station or her home] the facts, without blurring her face and giving away her identity. The video has since been taken off and replaced with one in which her face is not recognizable, but it has already done the damage - the girl and her family have gone into virtual hiding fearing threats to their lives from hardliners. Media in Kashmir had clearly taken sides; blamed the police for keeping the girl in their custody and tutoring her to speak. A woman claiming to be her mother, who spoke to media persons with her face covered with a dupatta, alleged that her daughter had been misled. She also alleged that her minor daughter was in police custody, giving fodder to the anti-India forces to rev their campaign. However, state police chief, K Rajendra, has told Mehjoor that the police will ensure the safety of the girl as long as she feels unsafe and wherever she chooses to stay.

Line