First arrest in Handwara molestation case

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    KashmirViolencePeepIndia

    The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Monday night arrested Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused named by a minor girl from Handwara town. First arrest in Handwara molestation case might help in calming down the protestors as the incident triggered a cycle of violence for past one week in north Kashmir.

    Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused identified, was arrested from Handwara by Jammu and Kashmir Police last night, official sources said, adding he is being questioned. Bandey was among the two persons named by the girl in her statement before Chief Judicial Magistrate. He is accused of manhandling the girl on 12 April while she was stepping out of a public restroom in Handwara town.

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    The arrest comes two days after the girl, who was initially alleged to have been molested by an Army soldier, told a Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) that no soldier misbehaved with her.

    In her statement before the Judicial Magistrate, she said that on 12 April, after school hours, while proceeding to her home with her friend, she entered in a public lavatory near main chowk in Handwara for answering the call of nature.

    Narrating the incident, the girl said, “No soldier or anyone entered the toilet when she was inside. But when she came out, two local boys, one of whom was wearing a school uniform created a scene by snatching her bag and shouting at her.”

    Bandey is accused of manhandling the girl on April 12 while she was stepping out of a public restroom in Handwara town.

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    Kashmir has been witnessing huge protests since past few days after rumours of the girl having molested by an Army Jawan spread across the Valley. Huge protests erupted last Tuesday after the rumours spread. People in large numbers gathered and attacked the Army bunker in Handwara Chowk. They assaulted the personnel deployed there, ransacked the bunker and attempted to set the bunker on fire.

    Incidentally, the locals had been demanding the withdrawal of the bunker for quite some time, but the Army had put its foot down, saying it was strategically important for the troops.

    Now the state government is likely to hand over the bunker to civil administration for development. Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions continued in Handwara and its adjoining areas.

    Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five people dead.

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