Angry protests, firing leave 17 hurt in J&K
Srinagar, May 5
At least 17 persons, including nine policemen, were injured in ding-dong battles as the police lobbed teargas shells, resorted to cane-charging and fired in air to quell the demonstrators at several places here following incidents of stone-pelting.
Angry demonstrators ransacked and damaged the house of Sabina in the Habbakadal area of the city. Sabina is one of the five accused arrested following the report filed by a minor girl in a local police station here in March. The angry demonstrators were demanding that all those involved in the sex racket be exposed and brought to book.
Life came to a standstill across Kashmir in response to the bandh call, according to reports reaching here from other major towns of the valley. Shops and business establishments, schools and several government offices remained closed. Transport was off the roads as skeletal private transport plied in parts of the capital city.
The state government has transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following resentment among the public.
The case came to surface after the arrest of three persons, including a woman, on the basis of a report filed in Shaheed Gunj police station here by a minor girl against her exploitation. The police has made two more arrests since last week.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has decided to start proceedings in this case as it has taken cognisance of recent media reports about the sex scandal. It has observed that “painful reports regarding inducement and blackmail of teenaged girls to lure them and coerce them into immoral physical submission have appeared in the Press. What makes the reports alarming are the allegations that some persons highly placed in different spheres are directly involved therein. Ex face, the occurrences reported are so horrifying that only a fraction thereof would be a complete horror in itself”.
It has stated that “pushing minor girls in flesh trade is an extremely treacherous act and if constitutionally acknowledged social and moral commitments mean anything, the traders of this treachery have to be brought to account, irrespective of their placement and position, for which this court perhaps cannot avoid indulgence…”
The High Court Bar Association (KHBA) has also asked the Director-General of Police to disclose the names of those involved in the racket within seven days by virtue of the Right to Information Act.
The separatist organisations, including the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and women’s underground outfit, Dukhtaran-e-Millat led by Ms Asiya Andrabi have also expressed concern over the “social evil” at the behest of police officials and some politicians.
Ms Asiya Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, who has several times launched social reformative campaigns, blamed the State for “patronising prostitution, pornography and other vulgarities”. She was detained under the PSA last year for unlawful activities after raids at various hotels allegedly giving cover to certain immoral activities.
The Hurriyat Chairman, Mr Geelani, said there was need to expose those involved in the scandal of exploiting innocent girls in Kashmir. He held that the CBI inquiry into the scandal would not help expose those behind it and priority of the agency was “to take care of the national interest”.
He referred to “unsatisfactory results” of the inquiries in different other cases like the mass rapes in Kunanposhpora, Kupwara in the early 1990s and that of Jagarpopra last year, apart from the massacres at Sopore in Beijbehara in 1993.