For Hand­wara Vic­tim, It’s Tough Road Ahead

The 15-year-old school­girl needs to brace her­self to face so­cial os­tracism in school and home­town

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Hand­wara: As Kup­wara district in north Kash­mir limps back to nor­malcy af­ter a bloody week of killings and protests, the mi­nor school­girl un­der ‘pro­tec­tive cus­tody’ has to brace her­self for so­cial os­tracism at school and neigh­bour­hood in her home­town Hand­wara.

The school­mates of the vic­tim — who as per school records is 15 years and six months old — and her neigh­bour­swere­an­gry­over­hervideostate­ment al­legedly recorded in a po­lice sta­tion. The video shows her deny­ing in­volve­ment of any army per­son­nel ru­moured to have mo­lested her in a pub­lic con­ve­nience.

Her fam­ily claims that the state­ment was recorded un­der pres­sure. J&K High Court has sought the state govern­ment’s re­sponse on PIL seek­ing high level ju­di­cial in­quiry into the al­leged mo­lesta­tion in­ci­dent and sub­se­quent vi­o­lence, and has also di­rected the po­lice to fa­cil­i­tate a meet­ing of the girl with her fa­ther and lawyer.

The sit­u­a­tion for the vic­tim, who prob­a­bly was at the wrong place at the wrong time, af­ter five killings has turned too hot to han­dle — life will never be the same for her.

“She omit­ted some facts in her state­ment. And one of the im­por­tant eye­wit­nesses Iqbal who was there was also killed dur­ing the protests,” a ClassXIIs­tu­dentof gov­ern­ment­girls’ higher sec­ondary school Hand­wara, where the girl stud­ies, told ET.

Of about 1150 stu­dents, only 20 were pre­sen­tonWed­nes­dayinthe­cramped school cam­pus, which opened af­ter eight days. Some of her class­mates claimed that they fear dis­rup­tions in their daily rou­tine be­cause of this in­ci­dent. “It’s not about her any more. Allof ushave­tobe­more­cau­tious­now. Even if we want, she won’t be able to cope with the pres­sure any more,” said an­other school­girl, who stud­ies in the same class.

How­ever, the prin­ci­pal of the school, Mir Man­zoor Ah­mad, clar­i­fied that the school ad­min­is­tra­tion would wel­come her back to re­sume her aca­demic ca­reer afresh. “She is like any other stu­dent and why would we dis­crim­i­nate. She is go­ing through a bad phase and we sup­port her,” Mir told ET. Few hundred me­tres away from the school, the girl’s res­i­dence was locked and peo­ple were look­ing sus­pi­ciously at ev­ery per­son who en­quired about her or the fam­ily. Her rel­a­tives re­fused to talk. “We all know she may not have done any­thing wrong, but her video state­ment has an­gered us all,” said a neigh­bour, who was also at the main chowk, when the in­ci­dent hap­pened last Tues­day. Many peo­ple were present on the first day when the in­ci­dent­took­place,when­she­was­dragged to the po­lice sta­tion and two peo­ple were killed, but no­body in the town is ready to nar­rate the events. JUST THE RE­MAINS

De­mol­ished Hand­wara Army bunker.

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