‘I Am Scared’: Shivering Hands At Bandipora

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A telling tweet of the former chief minister of the Jammu and Kashmir detailed a desperate bid in Kashmir countryside where a distraught family is wondering about a sudden twist in their simple lives.

CHEWA, Bandipora– Amid long faces and a reigning silence, a 9-year-old girl in red scarf and green outfit sat wondering about a sudden shift in her life.

Her tiny, shivering hands apparently revealed her freakish state of mind.

Be ches khotchan (I am scared),” she told her uncle and hugged him tight.

On Tuesday, former chief minister of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti took to micro blogging site twitter and wrote, “Locals in Bandipora have alleged that 3 army men tried to abduct & molest a 9 year old girl. Her family is now being pressurized to withdraw the FIR. It’s a complete travesty of justice & an impartial probe must be set up immediately so that they are given the harshest punishment.”

At Chewa, the minor’s father told Kashmir Observer that on February 10, 2021, his daughter was on the way home from her tuition centre when some unidentified persons pulled their car in front of her.

“She was offered Rs 520 by one of the men,” he said. “And when she refused the money, one of them came out of the car and grabbed her arm in a bid to abduct her.”

Luckily, he said, one of his friends was around—who got alerted by his daughter’s cries, and rushed to the spot along with other locals.

“They caught the three people and checked their identity cards,” the distraught father continued.

“They turned out to be the Army men. We didn’t take law in our hands and informed the police immediately.”

After the incident, the ‘daily-wage’ father of the minor said, the Army from a local camp came to his home and “harassed” his family.

“This is strange that I am facing this sort of treatment when I am the same person who rescued the soldiers when an Army chopper crashed in this area a few years ago,” he said.

“The police should investigate the case thoroughly and take action against the accused.”

Senior Superintendent of Police, Bandipora, Rahul Malik, told Kashmir Observer that an FIR has been registered and three persons have been detained in the case.

The officer, however, didn’t reveal the FIR number and identity of the trio “due to the sensitivity of the case”.

But according to a local news gathering agency, FIR No. 15/2021 under sections 341, 363, 511 IPC has been filed in the case last week at Police Station Sumbal, following the family’s complaint.

“The accused army soldiers have been identified as sub-inspector Harbachan Singh, Naik Amit Tahkor, and Hawaldar Manzoor Ahmad. All the three are under police detention,” the report said.

Even as police has filed case against the soldiers, army is yet to clear their stand on the incident.

However, the incident is already giving sleepless nights to the minor’s family. And due to trauma, they even fear to talk about it.

“Everybody is talking about us,” the grandfather of the minor told Kashmir Observer.

“We don’t know what will happen, but we are glad that our child is safe.”

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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