In a significant departure from her mother’s claim, the girl at the centre of the Handwara incident
has said that no army jawan molested her.
Speaking before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, the girl reiterated her initial statement made to the J&K police that she was not molested by any Army soldier.
The police on Sunday said that the girl told the CJM that on April 12, “she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys, one of them in school uniform, and her bag was snatched” outside a public lavatory.
Her mother has been alleging
that an army jawan had followed her inside the lavatory. “When she saw the Army man, she screamed to attract attention of shopkeepers,” the mother of the girl alleged.
The girl is still under detention. The J&K police have also detained her father and aunt.
A man stands before a tear gas shell during Handwara protests. Shuaib Masoodi/Indian Express
The mother of the girl has filed a petition before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking the release of her daughter and relatives. She claims that they have been illegally detained.
The High Court asked the police to cite the law under which it has detained the 16-year-old girl.
Handwara became a battleground on the day of the alleged molestation. Stones were pelted by locals on Army personnel. In response the Army fired killing two at the time. The death toll rose to five in subsequent days. A day after the incident, the army released a video
of the girl stating that she was molested by the boys and not any jawan. It was shot by the J&K police in a police station.
Violence again erupted in Handwara on April 18, even as internet services were restored in Srinagar.
Army Chief Dalbir Singh has reached Kashmir to take stock of the situation in Handwara.