Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday sought the state govt’s response on a PIL seeking a high level judicial inquiry into the alleged molestation incident in Handwara and subsequent violence even as it directed the police to facilitate a meeting of the girl and her father with her mother’s counsel.

The Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) had filed the PIL seeking a high-level judicial probe into the killing of five civilians during violent protests last week following an alleged molestation bid by an army man. A division bench of the court issued notice to the state govt, seeking its response by April 26, the next date of hearing, reports PTI. Meanwhile, a single bench of the court, hearing a plea filed by the mother of the girl against her alleged “illegal detention”, directed that the petition be clubbed with the PIL being heard by the division bench. The police  submitted its status report, including the statement of the alleged victim recorded before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Handwara last week. The girl had denied that she was molested by a soldier.

The mother of the victim had filed a petition before the High Court last week, seeking release of her daughter, husband and sister who police said were in ‘protective’ police custody.

As the petitioner’s counsel claimed that they were not allowed access to the girl and her father, the court directed the police to facilitate a meeting of the counsel with the girl and her father. The court also directed the police to file a compliance report by the next date of hearing. The KHCBA in its petition contended that “there are no chances of getting a fair deal at the hands of the government agencies”.

“It is now for the court to act and provide relief to the people by ordering a high level judicial probe in the matter, to be headed by a sitting Judge of the HC and also to be assisted by a high level investigating team to be headed by a credible police officer of repute, so that the public faith which stands already eroded is restored,” it added.

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