Handwara Molestation case: Hilal Ahmed Bandey arrested after girl names accused


One person was arrested in connection with an alleged case of molestation of a girl in Handwara, an incident that triggered days of violence for past one week in north Kashmir.

Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused, was arrested from Handwara by Jammu and Kashmir police last night, official sources said, adding that he is being questioned.

Bandey was among the two people named by the girl in her statement before the chief judicial magistrate. He is accused of manhandling the girl on April 12 while she was stepping out of a public restroom in the Handwara town.

The girl had also denied the allegation by local people that an army personnel tried to molest her.

In her statement before the judicial magistrate, “she said that on April 12 after school hours, while going to her home with her friend, she entered in a public restroom near the main chowk in Handwara”.

“As soon as she came out of the restroom, she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched. One of the boys was in a school uniform. The girl and her father were summoned before the chief judicial magistrate, Handwara, in compliance with the Jammu and Kashmir high court’s order,” police said.

Sources said a manhunt had been launched to arrest the other accused named by the girl in her statement. Initial investigation indicates the girl was spurning offers for a relationship from one of the two boys.

However, the entire case will be solved once the second accused is also arrested, sources said.

Immediately after the locals dragged the girl from the public restroom, an angry mob started pelting stones and ransacked the army bunker in Handwara. Locals have been demanding withdrawal of the bunker but the army says it is strategically important for its troops.

The state government is likely to hand over the bunker to the civil administration for development.

Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions continued in Handwara and adjoining areas.

J-K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed to the people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that has left five people dead.