A girl whose alleged molestation in a north Kashmir town triggered a protest that killed at least four people has purportedly said she was not abused by a soldier.
Rock-throwing protesters demanded the arrest of the soldier and tried to torch an army bunker on Tuesday as forces fired in retaliation, police said. The army has ordered a probe into the incident in Handwara, 85km from capital Srinagar.
A video authenticated by an army spokesperson shows the girl in school uniform saying there was no molestation attempt.
In the video, the girl says she went to a toilet near an army bunker. When she came out, a man slapped her and tried to drag her to a police station.
Video: Girl speaks on Handwara incident
Speaking in Kashmiri, she blames some youngsters for sparking trouble. The girl says she knew one of the protesters, and accuses him of instigating the mob.
“I was shocked. Within seconds, lots of people gathered there. They told me that they will take me to the police station,” the girl says in the video.
The army said they did not shoot the video, even as police said they were trying to find out the source.
“The army has verified the authenticity of the video and identity of the girl,” an army statement said.
Defence spokesperson NN Joshi told reporters: “If you focus on the video released by us, it clears that there is no case of molestation. It is a malafide intent by some elements to malign the good image of army.”
While three people were killed in Tuesday’s firing, another person died on Wednesday. Fresh clashes were reported between residents and the army as the area remained tense.
Chief minister Mehoboba Mufti, who is facing criticism, met defence minister Manohar Parrikar in Delhi and sought a time-bound probe.