‘Some cops spited at her face and used choicest abuses to harass her’
The father of the Handwara girl Tuesday narrated the ordeal they faced in police detention after rumours of her molestation by an army man triggered protests and subsequent killing of five civilians last month.
After remaining in police’s “protective” custody for 21 days, the girl’s father reached Srinagar to meet media personnel in a meeting arranged by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which has been providing legal help to the family.
Narrating the turn of events, the father told reporters: “On April 12, my daughter was taken to police station. She followed the situation and thought that she would be soon taken home. She was directly taken to police station where policemen instead of listening to her started abusing and spiting on her.”
He asserted that he was witness to what happened at the police station that night. “All these days when I was with her I could see how much pain and trauma she is going through. She told me how some policemen spited on her face and used choicest abuses to harass her. Some slapped and some dragged her, when they finally settled down their anger, she was videographed and was asked to record the statement.”
The girl’s father said he was shocked to learn that he would not be allowed to accompany his daughter inside the court to record the statement.
“I was not allowed to accompany her inside the court. My presence would have supported her morally but it was again shocking for me when I was not allowed to go inside.”
The girl was earlier videographed in which she gave a statement revealing she was not molested by the army but locals. The video that appeared to have been shot in the police station was widely circulated by army in their defense.
“I and her mother were not with her when police filmed her and recorded her statement. I was summoned midnight by police. One of the policemen asked me to bring a Pheran (traditional cloak) along and come to police station and take my daughter home.”
The girl’s father did what he was asked and took an extra Pheran along and left for police station with girl’s aunt.
“I followed the directions and went to police station. When I reached there I saw my daughter in a horrible condition. She was so much frightened that no words can explain.”
“Soon after I asked for permission to take my daughter home, but the police told me we cannot go back. They asked me to go upstairs and stay with her. I was shocked. I asked them I am supposed to take her home, but police said they had called us to the police station for safety.”
He further said despite his repeated pleas, he was not even allowed to call his family.
“I requested them to let me go home as I haven’t closed windows and doors properly, they refused to send me back. On one side I was worried for my daughter and on the other for rest of my family. No one listened to me. I asked them to let me make a call to home. They refused. They took away my phone and started abusing us.”
The father alleged: “I was made to sit on a cold cemented place for the whole night, it was unbearable but whom would I tell all this; I was in shock and nobody was willing to listen to me.”
He said he never asked for any security or preventive custody. He also gave in written before CJM on April 29 that he and her daughter were safe and do not want any police assistance or security.
“I told them I don’t need any security as my daughter or we have not done anything wrong. But I was forced to remain in police custody for over 20 days.”
He said they were shifted to three destinations in one week. “After two days, again in the middle of the night we were taken to a place called Shahlaw, we stayed there for three days with police. After that we were shifted to Zachaldar for one night and then again we were shifted to a new place called Wadur for three days. The police told me that they are doing it just for our security.”
On the reports about his family being accused to have taken money from agencies, he said: “Slit my throat if it’s proved I accepted even a penny from any agency. I don’t want anything. I just want me and my daughter to be free from police detention.”
He alleged that the police asked his daughter to write she was 20 years old. “My daughter refused to do so.”
The girl’s father urged media to help them. “It is my and my wife’s appeal to people and media to help us to be free from this suppression. God knows how I and my wife managed to reach Srinagar. We left home separately and boarded four buses to reach here.”
Expressing gratitude to JKCCS, the father said: “I am very thankful to JKCCS who have stood by us and believed in us when everyone else left us on God’s mercy. No one has courage to stand for justice in Kashmir but at least JKCCS did and it means a world to me.”
The parents of Handwara girl said as soon as they are set free, their daughter will reveal truth in the court of law.