Army Uses Girl's Video To Assuage Handwara Near Srinagar, Cop Suspended

A grab from video of girl's statement released by the army amid anger over firing on protesters in Handwara.

Highlights

  • Girl alleges harassment by a boy but doesn't mention any soldier: Army
  • Protests after reports of a college student allegedly molested by soldier
  • Four killed in firing on protesters in Handwara on Tuesday
Handwara: Parts of the Kashmir Valley were tense on Wednesday after the death of four, including a young cricketer, in firing on protesters. The protests erupted yesterday over allegations that a soldier had molested a student in Handwara, a charge the army tried to refute with a video of the girl's statement.

Here are 10 developments in the story:

  1. Nayeem Bhatt, a promising cricketer who had participated in under-19 camps, 70-year-old Raja Begum and Mohammad Iqbal, 21, were killed in the firing. Another person died in Kupwara today.

  2. A curfew is in place in Handwara where mostly securitymen were seen on the roads and the army vacated the most troubled parts of the town.

  3. Nayeem's family reportedly agreed to bury his body only after a compromise was worked out with the authorities, which included a policeman being suspended for the firing, an army bunker being removed and no charges against protesters.

  4. Shortly after Nayeem's burial, clashes broke out as villagers defied the curfew and threw rocks at security men who responded by firing tear gas.

  5. Facing public anger over allegations that its soldier sexually harassed a girl, the army released a video of the girl's statement and said it doesn't know who filmed it.

  6. In the statement recorded on a mobile phone, the girl does not talk about molestation by any soldier. She says that a boy grabbed her bag, pulled her and abused her when she went to the washroom after school.

  7. "He asked, am I not interested in Kashmiris? Another man asked where did I go with the boy and slapped me," the girl says in Kashmiri.

  8. The police say security forces opened fire when some 500 protesters surrounded the main army post, started throwing stones and tried to burn it.

  9. The army has regretted the firing but cites the video as proof that there was an "intention to malign" the force. The video shows there was "no molestation", defence ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel NN Joshi said.

  10. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is in Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers, said: "Such tragic incidents have a huge negative impact on the efforts of the government and political leadership in bringing peace to state."



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