NEW DELHI: A Kashmiri girl from Handwara, who was in the news for allegedly being molested by a soldier, has now come out and clarified in a video statement that some locals had harassed her and instigated the mob against the security forces.
The video exposes a possible conspiracy hatched by some local miscreants who spread rumours of molestation of the schoolgirl by an army man. The rumours prompted some 500 protesters to surround the main army post with an intention to burn it at Handwara Chowk on Tuesday. Subsequently, security forces had to open fire to disperse the violent mob in which two youths and a woman were killed.
In the video, the girl says a local boy had grabbed her bag and abused her when she went to the washroom after school. She said another boy, accompanied by some locals, had slapped her.
The video statement clearly denies molestation by any soldier. She further alleged that the local youths misbehaved with her and accused her of being with a soldier inside the washroom. The girl in her statement said she could identify the local youths who harassed her.
Express, however, cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video footage. Defence spokesman in Srinagar Colonel N N Joshi said the Army has verified the authenticity of the video and identity of the girl.
While the Army regretted the firing incident, it also pointed out that attempts were being made to malign the image of the force. It has already ordered a probe into the incident and assured that anybody found guilty would be dealt with as per the law.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, meanwhile, met Defence Minister Parrikar on Wednesday and discussed the Handwara incident. Later, she said, “The incident is very unfortunate. I spoke to Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished.”
She also said compensation would be paid to the victim. Such incidents should not happen in the future, Mehbooba stressed. The first woman Chief Minister of the State also held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of Union Ministers during which she sought a “time-bound inquiry” into the Handwara firing incident and sought opening up of more trading points along the Line of Control.
Mehbooba called on the Prime Minister at his office in the afternoon and pitched for inclusion of Srinagar and Jammu among smart cities besides allocation of an additional over four lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains to the state.
Mehbooba and Modi discussed the overall political and developmental scenario of J&K.