Protests across central, north Kashmir; Police says investigation on, appeals for peace; B’pora DM assures fast-track trial.
Srinagar, May 12: Protests erupted across central and north Kashmir Sunday as people demanded capital punishment to the accused arrested for allegedly raping a 3-year-old girl in Sumbal, Bandipora earlier this week.
On Thursday, a three-year-old female child of Trigam area in Sumbal tehsil of Bandipora district was allegedly raped by a local resident.
While the accused was arrested on the same day and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed two days later to probe the crime, the incident triggered massive public outrage on Sunday with protests and rallies held in several parts of the valley.
The protestors accused police of “inaction” while demanding death penalty to the accused.
Reports of protests and blockade of roads came from Pattan town in Baramulla, Beerwah in Budgam and Sumbal in Bandipora whereas peaceful protests were held in several other areas of north and central Kashmir districts including the summer capital.
Protesters blocked a highway in the Shadipora area of Bandipora demanding death penalty for the accused.
According to the police, he had produced a certificate showing him as a minor, which authorities said was fake since he is 20 years old.
Shahbaz Mir, Bandipora District Magistrate assured protesters of a fast-track trial, which would be completed within 14 days. After the assurance, protesters dispersed peacefully.
The protesters also blocked several roads in various parts of the valley and highway from Pattan to Srinagar, demanding appropriate action and speedy justice in the case.
Amid sloganeering, the protesters resolved not to relent unless the culprit was brought to justice
“This incident is the height of savagery and the administration is equally responsible for it,” he claimed.
“The police have not taken any swift action against the accused so far. There should be a speedy investigation,” adding that, “A DOB certificate was posted on social media yesterday which mentioned the age of the accused as 10. This is complete rubbish. He is in his 20’s. Anyone can guess that. The school principal has issued him a forged certificate and prompt action should be taken against him”.
Mohammad Akbar Joo, a local of Tregam, who was one among the protestors at Sumbal said, “Three days have passed since the rape has happened but no action has been taken so far. DSP Sahab has been unsuccessful in taking the investigation forward.”
Protesters including women and children hit roads at Budgam, Magam, Shilvat Dangerpora, Nowam, Shadipora, Inderkoot Pattan, Alamgari Bazar, Barazulla, and various parts of Srinagar including Lal Chowk’s Press Colony and Bemina.
“Leaders, and civil society are all silent over it. The politicians come here when they need votes but hardly talk when such horrific incidents take place. The school principal who has issued him a DOB certificate should be taken to task and the culprit should be hanged till death,” said a female protestor at Magam.
Another female protestor said, “We are requesting DSP Sumbal and SSP Bandipora to investigate into the matter and ensure that justice is delivered.”
Protesters blocked a highway in the Shadipora area of Bandipora demanding death penalty for the accused who was arrested by the police on the day of the incident.
SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik, however, refuted the claims about the issuance of date of birth certificate and informed that the police are considering the accused as a “major”.
He said, “The certificate is fake and has been uploaded by some miscreants.”
Commenting on the status of the case, he said, “SIT comprising SDPO Sumbal, SHO Sumbal and SDPO has been constituted to investigate the entire case. We appeal people to maintain peace.”