North Kashmir erupted in protests again after the death of a 20-year-old college girl during an alleged assault by members of Territorial Army in the frontier district of Kupwara on Thursday.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Kupwara) Otam Chand said one of the accused soldiers has been taken into custody. He was identified as Ashiq Hussain of 160 Battalion of the Territorial Army.
The SSP said the arrest was made after family members of the deceased girl alleged that Hussain and some of his associates barged into their house at Dolipora near Trehgam, 108 km north of Srinagar.
The family alleged that the soldier tried to rape the girl, Amina Masoodi. “Shocked by the attempt, she died,” a family member told the police.
“We have detained Ashiq Hussain and registered a murder case,” said SSP Chand. He said a team of doctors has been summoned from Srinagar to conduct the postmortem.
Amina’s brother Mohammad Ashraf Masoodi said that around 3 am they her cries. “As we rushed towards her room, it was blocked from the inside. I and my brother, Mohammad Arshad, broke the door open.
“Amina was lying unconscious. We saw a man, who had covered his face trying to run away. We however caught hold of him. In the meantime, around four or five gunmen barged into the room and attempted to free the man. They escaped from the scene but one of them left behind his identity card and cell phone,” Ashraf told the police.
The family said they took Amina to a hospital in an unconscious condition. “She died on the way,” they said. As news of the girl’s death spread, hundreds of villagers took to the streets, demanding the arrest of the soldier and his associates.
This is the 10th killing allegedly by men belongindg to the security forces in the past five weeks in Kashmir. The death comes amid the controversy still raging over the rape and murder of two women in Shopian whose bodies were found in a canal on May 30.
Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq told HT, “It is a complete failure of the institutions that are supposed to protect the lives and honour of the people.”