Additional force rushed to J&K as protests spread

RSTV Bureau
Srinagar: Security jawans petrolling a street during restrictions at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Photo - PTI

Srinagar: Security jawans petrolling a street during restrictions at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
Photo – PTI

With Kahsmir valley remaining volatile and protest spreading further, the Central government has decided to rush additional paramilitary personnel in the region. Five persons, including a budding cricketer and an old lady, have been killed in firing by security personnel since Tuesday following a spate of protest over the incident of alleged molestation of a young girl by a soldier.

Concerned over the situation, the Centre on Saturday decided to send 3,600 paramilitary personnel in the state after a high level meeting in New Delhi over the fragile situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The law and order trouble began on Tuesday after protests erupted in Handwara town of Kupwara district over the allegations that one girl student was molested by soldiers posted in an army picket in the town. Five persons have been killed in a firing by security forces, including J&K Police. More than 40 security personnel have been injured too in the clashes with protestors.

On Thursday, the army released a video of the victim girl who denied that she was molested by any security personnel. The identity of the girl has been kept under protection.

But now the girl’s family has claimed that she was pressurised into giving a video statement denying she was molested. Her family has also approached court seeking an independent probe into the incident.

“My girl is just 16 years old and was alone in the police station when her statement was recorded. She was pressurised by police to give that statement,” her mother claimed speaking to the press on Saturday.

Srinagar: Police in action against the members of  Tehreek-e-Hurriyat who were taking out a protest march against the killing of four persons in Handwara, in Srinagar, April 15, 2016. Photo - PTI

Srinagar: Police in action against the members of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat who were taking out a protest march against the killing of four persons in Handwara, in Srinagar, April 15, 2016.
Photo – PTI

“When the girl was returning home after school on Tuesday, she went to a bathroom and was followed by an army man. When she saw the army man in the bathroom, she raised an alarm, attracting attention of the nearby shopkeepers. The policemen also came to the scene but the army man fled,” mother of the girl went on to allege adding her daughter was taken to a police station “without” her “knowledge.”

“Were not allowed to meet our girl. Her father and aunt were also detained. We do not have any information of our arrested daughter for the last five days,” she alleged further.

Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions and ban on the mobile internet remains in place following one more death on Friday, taking the toll to five. Centre has once again asked the state government to ensure that there is no further loss of lives.

“The central government is concerned over the loss of human lives in Jammu and Kashmir”, a Home Ministry spokesperson said sharing details of meeting over the issue.

Union Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal, who is holding the additional charge of Union Home Secretary, chaired the meeting which was attended by senior officials from Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Defence, Central Armed Police Forces and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Home Ministry is in regular touch with senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir and has been monitoring the situation on a regular basis.

(With inputs from the PTI)