After normal life was affected in Srinagar on Monday, 13 May, due to a strike called by a religious, separatist organisation protesting the rape of a three-year-old girl in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik has directed a Special Investigation Team to complete investigation on fast track basis.
At least 47 security personnel were injured in a stone-pelting incident by the protestors, reported IANS. One officer is reportedly in critical condition.
Most schools, shops and other business establishments in the city remained shut due to the strike, officials said. They said public transport was also affected.
The Bandipora district in northern Kashmir is in shock over a three-year-old girl’s rape, allegedly by a neighbour. The gruesome incident occurred at the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan.
The governor has also ordered a special inquiry to check the veracity of the age of the accused.
Residents of Tregam village, in Sumbal area of Bandipora, told The Quint on Saturday, 11 May, that they would not sit silent until the accused, namely Tahir Ahmad Mir (20), is “hanged to death.” After day-long protests in Pattan area on Srinagar-Baramulla highway on Friday, a multitude of angry residents staged a protest at Press Enclave in Srinagar on Saturday.
Mushtaq Ahmad, one among the demonstrators, lamented,
“Such shameful incidents would not stop until someone is hanged to death. Hundreds of rape and murder incidents happen in Kashmir every year as the law enforcement agencies are not serious in investigations. On 13 April, a young woman, who had been raped by her father for three years, committed suicide in Gujjar Pathri, Argam, in Bandipora. Now, in less than a month, a three-year-old girl has been raped by her neighbour.”
How the Incident Unfolded
The protestors said the accused Tahir alias Mubba had given some candies to the young girl, taken her inside a courtyard toilet and raped her minutes before Iftar when the Valley reverberates with Azan from mosques. After the girl narrated the story to her parents on Wednesday, they raised a commotion. Many of the villagers gathered and handed over the accused to the police.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement leader and former Vice President of JNU Students Union Shehla Rashid Shora, who visited the family, said the victim had been rushed to Sub District Hospital of Sumbal where the doctors referred her to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Medical College, Bemina.
After her medical examination and legal formalities, she has been placed in protective custody along with her father at a police station.
“Her family members told me that the girl was writhing in pain even after she was discharged from the hospital”, Shora said.
Superintendent of Police, Bandipora, Rahul Malik said the medical report was awaited and it was likely to be delivered on Saturday. Quoting witnesses and evidences, he maintained that the act of rape had been prima facie established and a criminal case had been registered under FIR number 81/2019, sections 363/342/376 Ranbir Penal Code at Police Station Sumbal.
Malik told The Quint:
“We have arrested the accused and booked him under RPC. Now we are adding POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012) to the FIR.”
POCSO has been enacted at national level in India to provide a robust legal framework for protection of children from offences of sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process.
Social media in Kashmir is flooded with people condemning the incident, and demands to award exemplary punishment to the accused.