Who filmed the Handwara girl video and why?


SRINAGAR: The veracity of the video in which the girl reported to be molested alleged by some army personnel in Handwara, is not only being doubted but criticised for being widely used on all social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
The girl in the video begins her statement with a smile followed by bursting into sobs while someone addresses her “You’re like my daughter” in a dimly lit room where a lot of clothes could be seen pegged on the wall. She uses the word “Sir” many times over including the phrase “police uncle.” 
Kashmir Observer tried to contact the Superintendent of Police, Handwara, Ghulam Jeelani Wani to ascertain the facts about who filmed the video and what steps the police have taken to pull the video down from the internet sites. The SP, however, hung up when he learnt the call was from a newspaper office.
Ironically, a large section of the national media including TV channels used the contents of the video extensively in their reports dismissing the ‘molestation’ claim. Even the army’s spokesperson while referring to the girl’s filmed ‘statement’ attempted to assauge Handwara killings. “In the video, the girl is denying any molestation by any army personnel at Handwara on 12 April 2016,” a Defense PRO sent a press statement on Wednesday.
The statement claimed army has verified the authenticity of the video and identity of the girl.
The filming of the video is in utter violation of the Supreme Court directives which prohibits just the disclosure of the names of victims of sexual assault but of information potentially leading to the identification of victims. 
Beyond this, Section 23 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which defines a ‘child’ as ‘any person below the age of eighteen years’ contains a procedure for the media:

  • No person shall make any report or present comments on any child from any form of media or studio or photographic facilities without having complete and authentic information, which may have the effect of lowering his reputation or infringing upon his privacy.
  • No reports in any media shall disclose, the identity of a child including his name, address, photograph, family details, school, neighbourhood or any other particulars which may lead to disclosure of identity of the child: Provided mat for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Special Court, competent to try the case under the Act, may permit such disclosure, if in its opinion such disclosure is in the interest of the child.
  • The publisher or owner of the media or studio or photographic facilities shall be jointly and severally liable for the acts and omissions of his employee.
  • Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a period which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.

Former BBC presenter and head of the Women’s Commission in a reply to a Facebook post wrote that she completely agreed to the violation of the SC regulations adding she would take the matter up with relevant authorities.
“Who filmed this girl and what for when, according to law, she is authorised only to speak before a magistrate,” said Talat Shah , a university student. “If it was an honest statement, wasn’t the duty of police to keep the proceeding to themselves until the court decided the matter. I must say she has been made to speak.”
“In a terrible occupation, the powers that be leave no stone unturned to create confusion which acts as a deep evil marsh that buries in it everything. You have a classic example of rape and murder of two Shopian girls a few years back,” Shah added.


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