Handwara girl says gave statement to J&K police under duress

Srinagar: A schoolgirl, whose alleged molestation by a soldier on April 12 led to violence in her native Handwara town in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday said her denial statement on the incident to the police was made under duress.

She said a soldier had held her hand, following which she panicked and ran out of a public bathroom in Handwara.

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Protests by locals in Handwara followed the alleged molestation. Five protesters were killed in subsequent clashes with the security forces.

She told the media here in the presence of her parents that she was kept in a police station after the alleged incident against her will and forced by the police to record her statement.

“Three policemen forced me to say things that they recorded and put on the Internet,” the girl said.

In the video clip shot inside a police station, the girl said she had instead been harassed by local boys on her way home from school.

“They made me sign blank papers. I can’t write in Urdu. They made me write in Urdu and took my signature,” she said.

The girl was under “protective custody” for 27 days and was released on Sunday after a court ordered she should be allowed to go wherever she wanted to.

Police have so far not reacted to the girl’s changed stand in the case, which is still under investigation.