Sumbal: Four days after a youth was arrested for allegedly raping a three-year-old girl in Bandipora district of north Kashmir, police sources said preliminary medical examination has revealed he is not a minor.
Meanwhile, violent clashes erupted between security forces and civilians Monday in protest against the alleged rape.
A senior police official told PTI that the preliminary medical examination of the accused suggested that he is an adult. “We are treating the accused as a major and not as a juvenile,” the official said.
Police have detained the principal of the accused’s school for issuing a birth certificate which states he is 16 years old. SSP, Bandipora, Rahul Malik confirmed that the principal had been detained for further questioning, but did not disclose his name or the name of the school.
Additional Director General of Police Munir Khan said the case needs to be probed further. “A birth certificate was provided showing the victim to be a minor, but he isn’t,” he said.
The alleged rape took place on the evening of 8 May at a government school near the girl’s house at Malikpora village in Sumbal town.
“After iftar, the child accompanied her uncle to the nearby mosque. Upon reaching the mosque, the uncle told her to head back home and that was when the accused caught her,” a local police officer said.
According to police, the accused, who belongs to the same village, allegedly lured the girl by offering her chewing gum and took her to the toilet of the school where he allegedly raped her. The accused was arrested on 9 May.
Violent protests rocked north Kashmir
Massive clashes took place between the security forces and civilians in protest against the incident. The protesters demanded that authorities expedite the investigation into the case. They even demanded the accused be hanged.
The situation worsened Sunday evening after news broke that the girl belonged to the minority Shia community. Much of the violence on Sunday evening and Monday morning was witnessed in the Shia-dominated localities. But, as the day progressed, the protests spilled over to other parts of north Kashmir as members of different communities took part in the violent demonstrations.
The protesters blocked all major roads leading to the village of the girl. The Srinagar-Baramulla stretch of the National Highway-44 was blocked at several places and stones were thrown at both private vehicles and those carrying security forces. A youth in Mirgund area was seriously injured in clashes with security forces.
Traffic came to complete halt on the National Highway at the Narbal trisection, which connects Srinagar to both north Kashmir and Leh.
Protest rallies were taken out by universities and colleges across the Valley too.
‘SIT probing the incident’
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan appealed to people to maintain the law and order situation and said the probe would be completed soon.
“An SIT is conducting the investigation into the Sumbal incident on a fast-track basis and I am personally monitoring the probe, and it will be concluded very soon,” Khan said.
Additional Director General of Police Munir Khan said the accused was arrested hours after an official complaint was filed by the parents of the victim.
“This is a horrific incident and something that is very rare in a place like Kashmir. We immediately took the accused into custody and we hope that the case is fast-tracked,” said Khan.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Mortified to hear about the rape of a 3 yr old girl in Sumbal. What kind of a sick pervert would do this? Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child’s fault?Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such pedophiles are stoned to death.”
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said, “The rape of a child in Tirgaam is a travesty. @JmuKmrPolice must ensure a speedy investigation with only one consideration and that is to identify the guilty, prepare a watertight case & ensure exemplary punishment to those responsible”.
Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq urged people to maintain unity “in view of mischievous forces waiting to create a sectarian divide out of this most reprehensible crime against a child”.
“All of Kashmir stands in unison demanding sternest punishment against the brute perpetrator,” he tweeted.
‘Governor urged people to maintain clam’
Raj Bhavan issued a statement that said Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik spoke to leaders of different communities and asked them to deplore the gruesome incident unanimously.
The Governor also made an appeal to the people to remain calm and not let anti-social elements disturb the peace and harmony.
“The Governor has urged the parents, teachers and prominent citizens to take significant steps in imbibing children with morally sound and value-based education so as to build a strong foundation for our society based on compassion and kindness,” the statement read.
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