J&K HC asks for status report in minor's rape

Students shout slogans during a protest in Srinagar on May 14, 2019. Several protests were taken out by students of various educational institutes over the alleged rape of three year old girl by a local, in Sumbal area of Bandipora district of North Kashmir. (PTI Photo)

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday asked the police to file the status report on the rape of a three-year-old girl in northern Bandipora district last week.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, which triggered widespread protests across Kashmir, chief justice Gita Mittal asked the Inspector General of Police to file the report on Friday. Police have already submitted the report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which was constituted to probe the crime, before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bandipora.

The case was reported on May 8 and police arrested the accused, identified as Tahir Ahmad Mir, the same day. A school principal, who had issued a fake date-of-birth certificate to show the accused as a minor, has also been arrested.

The accused has been booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act, a day after the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) asked the police to register the case under the Act and not under Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).

The POCSO Act calls for the designation of special courts to put offenders on trial. The law also contains detailed guidelines on how to report a case of child sexual abuse as well as how the victim needs to be cared for and protected by a special juvenile police unit or the local police.

It also aims at providing protection to children (individual below the age of 18) from sexual violence including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and the inclusion of children in pornography and provides for the establishment of special courts for trials of such offenders.

A police official who is part of the investigation said the final report is yet to come, “but the preliminary investigation reveals that the girl has been raped.”

The horrific incident has sent shock waves across the valley with authorities suspending classes at educational institutions in several districts due to the fear of law and order problems.

This is the second such incident in the last year after a minor girl was raped and murdered in the Uri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district by her stepmother and stepbrother.

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