M A I N   N E W S

Major dismissed for outraging minor’s modesty
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Uri/Handwara, January 31
Delivering a landmark verdict in the infamous Handwara rape case, the General Court Martial (GCM) today ordered the dismissal of the accused Army Major of 30 Rashtriya Rifles. The GCM, which met in the border town of Uri under the presiding officer, Brig Syed Ata Hasnain, ordered Major Rehman Hussain to be dismissed from service after finding him guilty of using criminal force and outraging the modesty of a minor girl from Badra Payeen village in Handwara.

Major Hussain was also found guilty of beating up Ghulam Nabi Dar, 15-year-old brother of the girl, who is yet to surface from the trauma she underwent on the intervening night of November 6 and 7 last year. That was when the guilty came to her house for a search and ended up scarring her innocence forever. Even today, the speechless girl recalls that night with horror. To compensate for children’s loss, the Army has adopted the family.

Major-General M.S Balhara, GOC, Counter Insurgency Force, Kilo, under whose command the accused was when he committed the offence, said the Army would take care of the education, boarding, lodging and vocation of the children, and rehabilitate their parents. Incidentally Maj Hussain’s is among the few Army officers found guilty of charges during the 15 years of militancy. Of about 1600 cases of human rights violations by the Army, less than 2 per cent have been proved.

The officer, tried on five counts, was absolved from the charges of raping the girl’s mother Ayesha Begum and her aunt Mehmooda after getting DNA profiling done from CFSL, Chandigarh. But he was found guilty of disobedience of Armed Forces Special Forces Act. The Act requires searching of a woman by a mahila police officer or by village women. Major Hussain violated this rule while searching the girl whose depositions were read out in court today.

“When she was cross examined, she remained unshaken about the fact that the accused removed her clothes and outraged her modesty. He kissed her, asked her to spread her legs and kiss his male organ. Two guides of the Quick Reaction Team also confirmed that Major Hussain was alone with the girl inside a dark gallery,” GCM noted. Evidence established that Maj Hussain was alone with the girl for 30 minutes, and though he pleaded he was getting information from her, the GCM declined the plea. Brig Hasnain observed, “There was a language barrier between the two. No conversation is believable, nor was any conversation overheard by anyone.

The girl was neither a source nor an informer. If the accused had to question her he could have done so in the presence of her mother…”

Taking in view the gravity of the offence, the GCM finally recommended dismissal of the officer. The order is subject to the approval of the Army Commander Northern Command. After hearing the guilty’s plea for mitigation, the GCM also informed him of his future options.

Speaking to the Tribune team, which was on the spot today, Mr N. Venugopal, defence counsel said the judgment was based on hearsay. “My client has been absolved of major allegations. He is only guilty of criminal use of force and procedural violations. We will use all the options left. This case is a conspiracy of anti-national elements.”

Incidentally, Maj Hussain has been awarded the commendation card for his gallantry during Operation Rakshak.


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