Srinagar: The rape of a three year old girl in a north Kashmir village has triggered protests with people demanding stern and exemplary punishment for the culprit. The peaceful protests at many places turned violent with youth blocking roads and burning tyres after reports circulated that some people were trying to shield the rapist.
Sensing trouble, the authorities snapped internet in north Kashmir and also in parts of Central Kashmir as a precautionary measure.
That protests started from Malikpora, the native village of three-year-old victim on Friday. They soon spread to other areas after police took time to take action on the familys complaint, villagers alleged.
On Sunday protests rocked many parts of Srinagar including Zadibal, Ashai Bagh, Bemina and later spread to Magam, Budgam and Pattan. At many places protestors clashed with police which resorted to firing of tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.
Anger grew after a local school Islamic Educational Trust, Tirgam in Sumbal area issued a certificate declaring the rapist, who is in police custody, a minor.
Agitated people accused the school management of trying to save the rapist who they insisted is in his mid twenties.
Meanwhile several political and religious leaders visited Malikpora to express solidarity with the victim and her family. They included Hurriyat leader Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari and Shahla Rashid of J&K Peoples Movement. Ansari later called for strike on Monday to protest the gruesome incident and to press police for launching a speedy trial.
Without extending support for the strike call by his colleague, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq however issued a statement and condemned the incident and urged people of all sects to maintain claim and to introspect.
Deeply disturbed by the shocking heinous crime committed on a 3-year-old child in Sumbal, Mirwaiz tweeted.
Four days after the incident Mutahida Majlis Ulema also issued a statement strongly condemning the gruesome and brutal rape of a three-year-old girl and demanded an exemplary punishment to the guilty involved in the crime.
MMU, an amalgam of various religious bodies termed the rape of three-year-old minor as very unfortunate and shocking stating that the act has once again shown that in which direction Kashmir, that was once a religious society, was heading. The MMU said that the incident has not only left the conscience of every Kashmiri badly shaken but brought every head down in shame.
The MMU said that todays incident is second of its kind in north Kashmir in the past one month stating that such incidents are taking place because of the fact that many people in Kashmir, have forgotten the path and teachings shown by the great Sufi saints who put their blood and sweat to spread Islam in its true form. The MMU said that incident calls for a major introspection.
The MMU urged people across all sections to maintain unity on all fronts. It also strongly condemned the use of force on the peaceful protestors who were protesting against the shameful act.
In a statement, Hurriyat (G) leader Syed Ali Geelani termed such incidents as a black stain on the social fabric and rich culture of the state.
Condemning the heinous crime, Geelani flayed the unfortunate role played by the law enforcement institutions in Jammu and Kashmir. Bribery and a poor sense of responsibility both in judiciary and police administration has left the galloping crime rate un-tethered, because of the disputed nature of our state. Political interference in these law enforcement institutions has infected and ruined the whole system. Kuthua incident which has become a forgotten part of history now is a proof in this respect. At Sumbal angry mob have thronged on the roads and are demanding an immediate legal action but the police administration remain mere spectators, Geelani said.
“The rape of a child in Tirgaam is a travesty. @JmuKmrPolice must ensure a speedy investigation with only one consideration and that is to identify the guilty, prepare a watertight case & ensure exemplary punishment to those responsible,” National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
NC’s chief spokesman Aga Syed Ruhullah also condemned the incident and urged the governor administration to constitute a time-bound investigation into the heinous act and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The result of the investigation should be made public and severe punishment should be meted out to the guilty. The punishment should act as a deterrent,” he said.
Ruhullah also urged the governor administration to have the case tried by a fast track court.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said Shariah law seems apt to deal with such cases.
“Mortified to hear about the rape of a 3 yr old girl in Sumbal. What kind of a sick pervert would do this?Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child’s fault?Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such paedophiles are stoned to death,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone said the incident merits introspection.
“The tragedy in Tarigam Sumbal as beastly it is merits serious social introspection. We need to seriously ponder on this mad sickness on the prowl. We need to work hard to rediscover the moral foundations of our society,” Lone said in a tweet.
He said he had talked to Governor Satya Pal Malik and requested that the perpetrator of the crime be strongly dealt with.
Demanding fast track trial to ensure justice to three year old victim, AIP President Er. Rasheed urged administration to clear every single doubt being raised by the masses related to the incident.
In a statement Er. Rasheed said Whatsoever has happened in Tirgam needs serious introspection among the society. There should be no second opinion to the fact that everyone including investigating agency, common masses and local administration must be feeling the pain and all are sincerely trying to ensure justice to the victim child but administration can take further concrete measures to ensure that neither evidence is destroyed nor the culprit or someone on his behalf tries to prove him minor.
Er. Rasheed added that people across the state are genuinely shocked over the incident and have a right to seek time bound justice for the victim. Appealing masses not to pay heed to the rumors Er. Rasheed said that while entire humanity and people of the state are together to fight for the justice to the victim, we should not allow any miscreant or vested element to create confusions over the sensitive issue and everyone must also ensure that the dignity and honor of the victim and her family is not dragged beyond a point.
Protests spread to more areas on Sunday against the incident with police using tear gas and pellet guns to disperse the protesters.
The three-year-old girl was allegedly raped in Malikpora Sumbal in Bandipora district, prompting the The Jammu and Kashmir Police to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the incident.