A 14-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped for a second time within the span of a month, leading to strong protests on Tuesday in the Thakraie village area of Kishtwar district.
Family members of the girl alleged that she was kidnapped on Monday night by a 22-year-old youth, identified as one Ulfat, a resident of the same village.
Locals on Tuesday blocked the Thakraie road and asked the district administration to trace the girl within 24 hours and arrest the culprits.
The parents of the girl had last month lodged a complaint against the accused for allegedly kidnapping their daughter following which police had recovered the teenager from Daksum area of Kashmir on June 2. Police had, however, failed to arrest Ulfat and his accomplice. Protesters on Tuesday charged local police with being hand in glove with the alleged accused.
"If the police had arrested the accused earlier, our daughter would not have been kidnapped again," said the father of the girl.
"Local police are trying to shield the accused and that is why he is still able to roam around freely," he alleged.
The locals warned district officials that they would hold an even bigger protest on Wednesday if the girl was not recovered by then.
"We had recovered the girl from Daksum 10-to-12 days earlier, but now the parents of the girl are saying that their girl has been kidnapped again... We are hopeful of her immediate recovery," said Kishtwar SP, Kulbir Singh.
He earlier visited Thakraie village along with district development commissioner Saleem Mohammad and assured villagers that the girl would be recovered at the earliest.