Handwara molestation case: One arrested, launched to nab the second accused


One person has been arrested in connection with an alleged molestation case of a girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara, an incident that triggered a cycle of violence for past one week in North Kashmir.

Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused identified, was arrested from Handwara by Jammu and Kashmir Police last night, official sources told news agency Press Trust of India, adding that he is being questioned.

Hilal Ahmed Bandey was among the two persons named by the girl in her statement before the Chief Judicial Magistrate. He is accused of manhandling the girl on April 12 while she was stepping out of a public restroom in Handwara town.

The girl had also denied the allegation made by locals in the town, that a soldier had tried to molest her.

“As soon as she came out of lavatory she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched. One of the boys was in school uniform. The girl along with her father met the Chief Judicial Magistrate to comply with the order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court,” police said, based on the statement given by the girl to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Sources told news agency PTI that “a manhunt had been launched to arrest the other accused named by the girl in her statement to unravel the entire conspiracy. Initial investigation indicate that the girl was spurning offers for a relationship from one of the two boys.”

However, the entire case will be solved once the second accused is also arrested, the sources said.

Immediately, after the locals dragged the girl from the public restroom, angry mob started pelting stones and ransacked the Army bunker in Handwara town.

Incidentally, the locals had been demanding a withdrawal of the bunker for quite some time but the army had put its foot down, saying it was strategically important for the troops.

Now the state government is likely to hand over the bunker to civil administration for development.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five people dead.

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