The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation which sought a judicial probe into the alleged Handwara molestation incident that led to widespread protests in the Valley, resulting in the death of five persons.
A division bench comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Tashi Rabstan, which had reserved its order on the PIL after hearing arguments of petitioner Kashmir High Court Bar Association and the state counsel last week, dismissed the petition. The detailed order of the court, however, is awaited.
The lawyers’ body had filed the PIL seeking an investigation into the killings in Handwara and Kupwara towns by an official of IGP rank.
They had also sought that the investigations be monitored by a sitting High Court Judge. Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom had submitted that there is discrepancy in the age recorded in the girl’s statement before the magistrate where her age is shown as 19 years while as per her school records she is only 16.
“It is a manipulation by the police,” Qayoom had claimed.
The Advocate General, representing the state, said the Bar Association had no right to file the PIL as a case has already been filed before the High Court by the mother of the victim.
“Certain facts at this stage need not to be made public which are under investigation. However, as and when directed by the court, dairies and other relevant material can be placed at the disposal of the Hon’ble Court,” the Advocate General said.
Massive protests had erupted in Handwara town of north Kashmir on Arpil 12 following allegations that a girl was allegedly molested by an army soldier.
Three persons were killed in security forces firing on protestors on the same day while two other persons were killed in a similar action over the next three days of protests.
The girl, in her statement to police as well as before a judicial magistrate, has not mentioned anything about molestation but named two local youth for harassing her while she had gone to a public lavatory to answer the call of nature.
One of the youths has been arrested, while the other one is on the run.
The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.