Handwara: HC seeks J&K’s response on plea for judicial inquiry
The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Wednesday sought the state government’s response on a PIL, seeking a high-level judicial inquiry into the alleged molestation incident in Handwara and subsequent violence even as it directed the police to facilitate a meeting of the girl and her father with her mother’s counsel.
The Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) had filed the PIL, seeking a high-level judicial probe into the killing of five civilians in protests last week, following an alleged molestation bid by an Armyman.
A Division Bench of the court issued notice to the state government, seeking its response by April 26, the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, a single Bench of the court, hearing a plea filed by the girl’s mother against her alleged “illegal detention”, directed that the petition be clubbed with the PIL being heard by the Division Bench.
The police on Wednesday submitted its status report, including the statement of the alleged victim recorded before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Handwara, last week. The girl had denied that she was molested by a soldier.
The victim’s mother had filed a petition before the High Court last week, seeking release of her daughter, husband and sister, who police said were in ‘protective’ custody.
As the petitioner’s counsel claimed that they were not allowed access to the girl and her father, the court directed the police to facilitate a meeting of the counsel with the girl and her father. It also directed the police to file a compliance report by the next date of hearing. The KHCBA in its petition contended that “there are no chances of getting a fair deal at the hands of the government agencies”.
Protesters demand girl’s release
Scores of students on Wednesday staged a demonstration here, demanding the release of the girl – who is at the centre of the Handwara molestation row. Carrying placards, the students alleged that the girl had been “illegally” detained along with her family members. The protest was organised by the All-India Students’ Association (AISA).