HC Order:No More Police Custody for Handwara Girl,Parents

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday ruled that the minor girl from Handwara whose allegation of being molested by army personnel had led to protests, is free to go anywhere, as is her family. The division bench announced the decision after hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by her parents, challenging their daughter’s illegal detention after the clashes broke out.
A division bench of the court comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey passed the direction after parents of the girl submitted affidavit that there is no threat perception to them or their daughter.
“It being so, they along with their daughter and her aunt shall be free to go where ever they want,” the court ruled. 
The court based the order on the affidavits her parents submitted, in which they said the Jammu and Kashmir Police had them under unlawful custody even though they had never sought any police protection. 
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which represents family, said that police has again detained the girl and her family.
“Initially on May 10, Police had informed the family of the minor girl that they are free, but yesterday when the minor girl along with her parents reached Srinagar to the office of JKCCS, the police had already started harassing the relatives of the minor girl to ascertain their whereabouts. Subsequently, the police took the minor girl and her family back to Zachaldara, Handwara and re-detained them,” the spokesman said.
He said that after today’s order by the High Court, the police should end “illegal confinement” of the girl and end all overt and covert means of surveillance and restrictions.
“The police should end the illegal confinement of the Handwara minor girl and end all overt and covert means of surveillance and restrictions, following the high court order”, a spokesperson for the organisation said. JKCCS had earlier highlighted the illegality of revealing the minor’s identity in a video shot by the police, in which she seemingly retracts her claim that army personnel had molested her.
Massive protests had been witnessed in Handwara town of north Kashmir on April 12 following allegations that the girl was allegedly molested by an armyman. 
Three persons were killed in firing by government forces on protestors on the same day, while two other persons were killed in similar action over the next three days of protests in frontier district. 
The girl, in her statement to police as well as before a judicial magistrate, has not mentioned anything about molestation but named two local youth for harassing her while she had gone to a public lavatory.  One of the youth, Hilal Ahmad, has been arrested.


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