Handwara, April 13: Exactly a day after a budding cricketer and couple of others were killed in firing during a protest staged over allegation that a college student was molested by a soldier, the army has released a video of the girl’s statement where there was no mention of molestation.Also Read - 62-year-old Man Shot Dead Outside Home in Delhi's Dwarka
Though the army said that they were unaware of who filmed the video where the girl alleged that a boy harassed here, there wasn’t any indication that the girl was molested by any soldier. The statement that was recorded on a mobile phone when she was apparently taken away by the police amidst the protests. The girl said that she was “grabbed, pulled and abused by a boy” at the time she went to the washroom after school hours. Also Read - Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah Actor Aradhna Sharma Reveals 'Traumatising' Casting Couch Experience
“Sir after my classes finished, I passed by from the road and went inside a bathroom (toilet). While coming out of the toilet, I took the bag from my friend and during this a guy (in uniform, not known whether police or school) slapped me and said have Kashmiris died. It shocked me. And then few more boys gathered around. The guy told me to come to Police Station with him. A police uncle was standing nearby; I said to that guy I will go with him (Police uncle) instead. He said ‘no’ after snatching my bag and started abusing me. I did not see anyone there (Inside toilet). Even Hilal bhai (brother) was there, he slapped me and said why you went there (toilet). I told him you know my family and me, how can you blame me like this. It seemed he had planned it with other guys. The guy followed me to here (Police station ) as well and did not let go my bag. The Shafi Uncle then told him to hand over my bag and ordered him to leave. He went outside and was spreading some rumors,” the girl said in the video released by the army. (Also Read: Toll touches three in Kashmir firing incident) Also Read - Pearl V Puri Denied Bail in Minor Rape Case, to Stay in Judicial Custody Till June 15
The allegations that a girl had been molested by a soldier flew thick and fast and the protests broke out in Handwara, 70 kms from Srinagar. According to police, security forces opened fire when around 500 protesters thronged an army post and started pelting stones. The even tried to set the outpost on fire. The incident claimed three lives — promising 21-year-old cricketer Naeem Bhatt, Raja Begum (54) and Mohammad Iqbal (22). The army expressed their regrets over the firing incident, but also said that there was a effort to malign the force. “A video which surfaced is the statement of the girl and that shows there was no molestation,” Lt Colonel NN Joshi, the Defence ministry spokesperson, said on Wednesday.
Lt Colonel Joshi also said that they didn’t film the video, but only released it. The fact that they probe into matter and check whether Standard Operating Procedures were followed.
Informing that defence minister Manohar Parrikar has ordered action regarding the incident, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has also condemned the incident. “Such tragic incidents have a huge negative impact on the efforts of the government and political leadership in bringing peace to state,” she said.