Handwara schoolgirl released from police custody after 28 days

SRINAGAR: Police on Tuesday released the minor schoolgirl of Handwara town, who was under police custody for 28 days since an army man allegedly tried to molest her on April 12.

A Division Bench of the High Court yesterday directed her parents to file an affidavit in the court stating that the girl and her family did not require police protection. However, police today said she was free, even before the Court would direct the police to release her.

The police had said she was in “preventive custody”, but her mother had filed a petition in High Court saying the girl was under illegal police custody without her will. The girl was reportedly not allowed to meet anyone, not even her mother initially. She was also not allowed to attend the hearing of her case in the High Court.

According to Khurram Parvez, co-ordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, an advocate went to meet the girl and her family this morning where police informed them that the girl was now free to move out of her maternal uncle’s house in Zachaldara, Handwara, where from she was not allowed to move out earlier.

“What we understood is that police decides everything itself. They detained her when they wished and they released her when they wished, without waiting for the Court order in either case,” Khurram told JandK Now.

Khurram said the girl was imprisoned at her maternal uncle’s house, where ‘she did not feel secure’ as it was in an isolated area and near an army camp. “So she went to her another relative’s house today and will soon move to her own house,” he said.

Khurram said the concerned lawyers would file the affidavit at the High Court tomorrow, even though the girl was released today. “We will file the affidavit and see what the court orders, and then we will decide our legal strategy,” he said.

“We now hope that the Handwara minor girl will de-stress herself and very soon the next steps regarding her struggle for justice will be taken,” he wrote on his Facebook account earlier.

Khurram said the girl was released after a ‘sustained campaign’ in which all legal remedies were used by the family.