Police Forced Me to Follow Their Dictates, Handwara Girl Alleges

KL NEWS NETWORK
SRINAGAR

Handwara girl flanked by her parents addressing presser
Handwara girl, flanked by her parents, addressing a press conference in Srinagar. (KL Image by Bilal Bhadur)

Handwara minor girl Monday alleged a soldier grabbed her hand and the police forced her to follow their scheme of things in custody.

“On April 12, 2016 I was subject to a assault by an army man at a public toilet in Handwara,” the girl student told a press conference, hosted by a civil liberty group, in Srinagar. “After I ran out of the bathroom, a crowd gathered.”

“I recognized a policeman named Mohammad Shafi Watali who began to drag me to the Handwara police station. This was against my will as I asked him to allow me to go to my house. But, he did not leave me and he verbally abused me. I was taken directly to the Handwara police station,” the girl who appeared in public for the first time almost a month after alleged.

She was produced before the Munshi, Khursheed. “The behavior of the police personnel towards me as I arrived at the police station was very hostile. The police personnel were abusive and threatening me. I was intimidated,” she claimed.

The girl, who was also flanked by her parents, said the Munshi asked my name. “When I did not respond, the Munshi reached into my bag and recorded my name from my school books. He also asked me for my father’s name which I provided. The Munshi also took away my phones even though I said I wanted to contact my family members. He refused to return the phones to me.”

The girl said that around this time, a sub-inspector namely Mohsin stormed the room and verbally abused her. “He came into the room and I noticed his name on his nameplate. He spat on me and left,” the girl said.

Later, the girl said, three masked police men entered the room and asked me what happened. “I told them what the army soldier had done to me. They told me, in very harsh tone, that I should not continue with this allegation and that I should instead blame the local boys. One of them even slapped me when I was refusing to change my evidence,” the girl alleged.

“Later, SP Handwara, Ghulam Jeelani came and asked to me explain everything. “In distress and under pressure, I narrated what had happened while not revealing details regarding the army soldier. Jeelani Sahib then left the room and returned and told me he wanted to record my statement on his mobile phone. He promised not to make it public. Because of the pressure, and in light of being threatened by the policemen on what to say, I repeated my statement on video without putting any blame on the army and without mentioning what the army man had done to me outside the public toilet.”

The following morning, she said, a known sub-inspector Shafi alias Moulvi Sahib forcibly took her signatures on blank papers. “He also made me write an application seeking police protection and then forced me to sign it, thus spreading a words that my family voluntarily sought police protection.”

In the morning of April 16, 2016, the girl said, at around 9 am. she, her father and aunt were taken again to the Handwara police station.

“Here, policeman Moulvi Sahib informed me that my video was on the internet. He also told me and my father that we had to give a statement as per his instructions before the court. He pressured me to say that I was born in 1997. He pressured me to stick to the statement I had said in the recorded video. He told us to tell the court that we were staying in a relative’s house. My statement, and that of my father, before the court was therefore not a voluntary statement. When I gave my statement before the court my father was not allowed inside with me.”

The girl said she was kept against her will in the police station. “They made me sign blank papers. I can’t write in Urdu. They made me write in Urdu and took our signature,” she said.

The girl was in custody for 27 days and was released only after court intervention.

Her parents said she was pressured into changing her original version.

The teen complained that she was isolated by her classmates, who accused her of “suppressing reality.”

She said she will fight for her honor and for those who laid down their lives for her honor.

 

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