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Jammu and Kashmir: Protests erupt after rape of three-year-old girl in Bandipora; Satya Pal Malik calls crime heinous

The rape of a three-year-old girl in the Sumbal area of Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district led to widespread protests across the Valley on Sunday. The strike was called by a religious-cum-separatist organisation to demand stringent punishment for the accused.

The incident occurred on 8 May, when the accused, a resident of her neighbourhood, allegedly lured the girl with chewing gums, took her to a nearby government school and then raped her. Soon after the incident was reported, the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested the accused.

 Jammu and Kashmir: Protests erupt after rape of three-year-old girl in Bandipora; Satya Pal Malik calls crime heinous

The strike was called by a religious-cum-separatist organisation to demand stringent punishment for the accused. Twitter/ANI

The girl was raped in the village just before iftar, according to the complaint filed by her family. "We found her in a nearby area and informed the local police," said the family member.

According to police officials, the survivor was referred to a Srinagar-based hospital, where her condition is said to be stable.

"A case was registered, and the accused was produced before a court which sent him to police custody," said SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik.

Bandipora Deputy Commissioner Shahbaz Mirza called for calm and said, "The heinous crime of rape of a minor in Bandipora is under investigation. We assure that perpetrator of the crime will be brought to justice. We appeal to the public to stay calm and not heed to any rumors."

Normal life was affected in the city on Monday due to the protests. "Most schools, shops and other business establishments in the city remained shut due to the strike," officials said.

Protests took place in more than 12 places mostly in central and north Kashmir on Sunday, an unidentified police officer told The Indian Express.

According to the officials, public transport was also affected due to the strike. "However, government offices and banks remained open," they said.

Ittehadul Muslimeen – a religious organisation which is also a constituent of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference – called for a complete shutdown across the Valley on Monday.

In a statement, Itehadul Muslimeen president Moulana Masroor Abbas Ansari termed the "rape" as a blot on the face of humanity.

Meanwhile, the incident has also drawn flak from political leaders in the state.

Governor Satya Pal Malik condemned the "extremely heinous incident" and directed IGP Kashmir to ensure that the accused gets exemplary punishment for the "shameful act".

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah termed the incident a "travesty" and called for speedy investigation and exemplary punishment to the guilty.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the incident and said that in times like these, "Shariah law seems apt."

Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said such incidents were a "black stain on our social fabric and rich culture". He also said that political interference had ruined the whole system.

"The Kathua incident, which has become a forgotten part of history now, is a proof in this respect," he added, citing the alleged rape and murder of a minor in the district last year.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 14, 2019 09:27:01 IST