SRINAGAR: Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Thursday accused a section of local media here of allowing itself to be part of state’s psychological operation to drown the facts of Handwara case.
A teenage girl from north Kashmir township of Handwara is in police custody after her alleged molestation by an army soldier last month led to violent protests which killed five civilians.
“Right from 12 April 2016 we have observed irresponsible statements and actions from various parties whether the State or non-State, including the media. These irresponsible statements and stories have been made with no concern for the minor girl, her family or the fact that the case is being heard by the High Court. This has served the interests of the police and the army that have thus far caged the minor girl and spread rumors with the express intent of defaming the girl and her family”, JKCCS which is providing legal aid to the girl and her family said in a statement on Thursday.
Giving details, the statement sent to Kashmir Observer reads: On 4 May 2016, a leading newspaper (Name withheld) carried a story by its reporter wherein Executive Engineer, R&B Division, Handwara is quoted as stating that the father of the Handwara minor girl, working as a coolie in the department, has been suspended due to his unauthorized absence.
JKCCS said, the immediate fall out of this story was some prominent MLAs approached the family to pressurize them to seek political favour and assistance.
“Further, on 4 May 2016 itself, Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara sought an explanation from the Executive Engineer for his actions taken with malafide intentions [Communication no.: DCK/PS/2016/(05)/706].
The story, based on available information and documents, appears to be false and motivated, the statement reads.
According to the statement JKCCS has got access to the communication sent by the Executive Engineer, R&B Division, Handwara in response to the explanation sought by the DC Kupwara, which states that the father of the minor girl has not been suspended.
Further, the document states that the newspaper has wrongly published the news regarding the suspension, but noted that the employee is not attending duties since 14 April 2016 due to domestic problems [Communication no.: 651-53]. Perusing the response of the Executive Engineer, the DC Kupwara has issued an order to the newspaper on 4 May 2016, specifying that the story of suspension was false as was another story published earlier by the same newspaper relating to the killings at Handwara [Communication no.: DCK/PS/2016/36/718-23].
The editor of the newspaper has been asked to take action regarding these false reports and make necessary corrigendum on the front page of the paper.
“The entire episode regarding the status of the employment/suspension of the father of the minor girl requires immediate and comprehensive investigations. The newspaper at and the reporter involved, and the officials of R&B department concerned with this matter must be investigated for their role that has resulted in confusion, and increased pressure and trauma for the family and allowed vested political interests access to the minor girl and their family. This reflects how armed forces, police and politicians use media for perpetrating injustice and use media for psy-ops against the victims of the State oppression”, JKCCS said.
Alleging that the girl was being kept under detention and her personal space was being violated, the JKCCS has been demanding that the minor girl be set free and out of oppressive police custody.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.