Widespread protests were held across the Kashmir Valley on Sunday against the alleged rape of a three-year-old girl in Sumbal area of Bandipora district, reported Greater Kashmir. The protestors demanded stringent punishment for the accused, who has been arrested.
On Monday, several schools, shops and other business establishments in Srinagar remained shut, unidentified officials told PTI. Public transport in the city was also affected by the strike. However, government offices and banks remained open, the officials added.
The alleged incident took place on May 8. The accused allegedly lured the child with candy, abducted her and then raped her. “We found her in a nearby area and informed the local police,” a family member told The Indian Express.
The accused was produced before the court and sent to police remand, said Bandipora Senior Superintendent of Police Rahul Malik. The police have formed a three-member special investigation team to probe the alleged rape. An unidentified police officer told Greater Kashmir that the age of the accused will be determined after doctors carry out a few tests.
Bandipora Deputy Commissioner Shahbaz Mirza asked people to stay calm. “The heinous crime of rape of a minor in Bandipora is under investigation,” he said. “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 rumours.”
Protests took place in more than 12 places on Sunday, an unidentified police officer told The Indian Express. The protestors called for hanging the guilty in public. “This is the time when people of Kashmir need to wake up from the slumber and protest against the crimes that have brought disrepute to us,” a protestor told Greater Kashmir. Authorities snapped internet services in North Kashmir districts and also in Budgam as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, religious organisation Itehadul Muslimeen, a constituent of the Hurriyat Conference, on Sunday called for a complete shutdown across the Valley on Monday against the incident. Itehadul Muslimeen president Moulana Masroor Abbas Ansari termed the rape as a blot on the face of humanity, PTI reported.
Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said such incidents were “black stain on our social fabric and rich culture”. He said 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. Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq asked people to maintain calm.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah called the incident a travesty and urged the police to ensure a speedy investigation and exemplary punishment to the guilty.
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the incident. “Mortified to hear about the rape of a 3 yr old girl in Sumbal,” she tweeted. “What kind of a sick pervert would do this? Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child’s fault? Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such paedophiles are stoned to death.”